When Ann Kerrigan found an old class ring in her Lebanon, New Hampshire, backyard, it was as though it had just been planted there. “It was just there,” she told necn. “It was so strange. It’s not like I was digging.”

The discovery sparked a detective-style investigation to identify its original owner, who, according to the ring, had graduated from Lebanon High School in 1965. Kerrigan called the school to describe the gold-colored ring and provide a crucial clue: the initials inscribed on it. They were looking for an “RG.”

The school-office probe picked up steam. Secretary Amanda Clarke and tutor Lauren Anikis leafed through yearbooks, scoured Facebook, and even paid for a temporary subscription to Whitepages.com. “We just thought how nice would it be to get a piece of his past back,” Clarke told Valley News.

At last, a breakthrough. They identified one Raymond Goodwin, who now resides just across the state line, in Hartford, Vermont. Goodwin, a retired cook, said he had lost the ring sometime in the brief period between the end of school and graduation—down a drain, he guessed. “My mother and father really gave me grief when I lost that, God rest their souls,” he said.

Goodwin met with Kerrigan and the team of detectives at the school, where they handed over the ring and shared Kerrigan’s own story of a missing class ring. Decades earlier, she’d lost her 1981 Chestnut Hill College ring. Five years later, a stranger returned it to her.

But one enigma still eludes the Lebanon High School office detective squad: What mysterious force brought the ring the three miles, from Goodwin’s childhood home to Kerrigan’s yard?