While on vacation in Hilton Head, SC, in June 2015, Delaney Riley, of Canton, OH, put notes and pictures in a bottle and cast it off into the ocean, probably expecting it'd get carried off to some other shore many miles away. It didn't, and that turned out to be most unexpected treasure for the girl's family.
Delaney, 10, wound up dying unexpectedly in September 2015 from an undiagnosed heart condition.
Not two months later, two girls who live on Hilton Head found the bottle full of Delaney and her friend Abigail's drawings and messages. The 9- and 10-year-old bottle finders noticed a phone number among the notes and called it. It belonged to Abigail's mother, Debbie Watson. The mementos made their way to Delaney's grateful mother, Chrissy Horning.
"That letter that she wrote showed her excitement about life. It was a whole page long and it was written like the way Delaney writes. She had a lot of dreams. She was going to be a residential architect. She was very intelligent," Horning told Fox 8, adding that she didn't share with the girls who contacted Watson that Delaney had passed away.
Still, Horning believes, "It was a sign that she's here with us, and a sign that we really needed.”