ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – You never know what you’re going to find during a home remodel. One Albuquerque family made a mysterious discovery during a kitchen demo; a discovery that had them playing detective while fearing the worst.
Chapstick and lipstick, typical items for a teenager to keep in her purse. Michele Haskins hadn’t seen the bag since she was 18 back in 1983. “It used to be a little lighter, yeah it was a lighter color,” Haskins says.
She says the purse was stolen at a party near Academy and Wyoming her senior year of high school. “It was before Tanoan had any homes up there and it used to be just a Mesa and we used to go there and light bonfires,” Haskins says.
There were homes being built in the area at the time. Brandin Schumann and his family moved into one of them a few years ago. “When we bought the house the first thing she wanted to do was remodel the kitchen and so seven years later we’re finally doing it,” Schumann says.
During the kitchen demo, they found what looked like a piece of tarp behind a cabinet, “It was in a sealed-off, hard to reach place. So then I pulled it out and it was a purse,” Schumann says.
Inside were personal items like a social security card, driver’s license, and school ID. Schumann used the information to try and track down the owner, even wondered if she was the victim of foul play. “I started looking at NewMexicocourts.gov. I even went on unsolved mysteries and cold case files for new Mexico,” Schumann says.
Finally, he posted one of the photos on Facebook and within an hour mutual friends got them connected and the mystery was solved. “So to have someone contact you 37 years later and they say they’ve got your purse is mind-blowing,” Haskins says.
Haskins says it was all of the family photos inside the purse that made it so valuable. “This is one of my brothers that is no longer with us; so this was priceless to me,” Haskins says.
She says she’s thankful to have these lost memories back in her possession. “It means the world to me to have those back,” Haskins says. She says she thinks whoever stole her purse decided to stash it inside a home that was under construction at the time.