MCCARR, Ky. (WYMT) - It is a story that is more than two decades in the making. This weekend, a man personally returned a message in a bottle he found in the Ohio River... that came from Pike County more than 25 years ago.
In 1987, 12-year-old, Carmelita Haynes, dropped a message in a bottle into the small creek outside her home in McCarr. Haynes says, "At a young age, when you are a kid you have such an imagination."
Haynes says nearly 25 and a half years ago when she put the bottle in the creek, she never imagined it would turn up, let alone in Ohio. Haynes explains, "We usually just jotted down, if you find this letter please respond, I never dreamed of it."
Fast forward to January of this year, while Brian Dingus and his grandson were cleaning the riverbank in Franklin Furnace, Ohio, they discovered the muddy plastic bottle.
Dingus says, "I thought he was teasing me, and I turned around and saw that he was unrolling paper out of the bottle, and then he started reading."
The bottle had traveled more than 120 miles, making its way down the creek, into the Tug Fork River, then the Big Sandy, and then into the Ohio River. Amazingly, through all of its travels, the message in the bottle remained intact, with the print barely even faded.
Dingus says, "Once I looked on a map and saw where McCarr was and then started tracking how far it came, and then the thing that amazed us was the date, it had been over 25 years."
Dingus was able to contact Haynes through a more more recent form of communication...Facebook. He says, "We started looking for Carmelita the next day and sent her a message." When Haynes received the message she says she could not believe it, "I said if you are Carmelita Haynes from McCarr, Kentucky, Peter Fork..I have a message in a bottle from 1987. I was like no way!"
Now Haynes and Dingus say they will stay in touch through Facebook and are thankful for this new friendship. Haynes says she is also thankful that the discovery of the old message has allowed her to get back in contact with her childhood friend, Susan Duty, that she sent the messages out with.