‘We learned a few lessons that day’: Spokane Valley toddler flushes mom’s heirloom wedding ring, county crews save it

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. —  Just a little more than seven years ago, Erik and Katie Kettenton tied the knot with a ring that meant a lot to her.

“The main diamond is my great grandmother’s. It’s very sentimental. It’s not something that can be easily replaced,” Katie said.

Katie’s great grandparents got married in 1928. Her mom ended up giving her the diamond, and it happened to fit perfectly with the setting Erik bought. Katie said that ring has been appraised before, and she was told the quality was not that great. She didn’t care.

Like many other marriage stories, then came the kids – four-year-old Georgia, and one-year-old Archer.

At 4 a.m. Sunday morning, Georgia got up and went to the bathroom. Katie said Georgia doesn’t like to sleep too much, saying she “gets bored” with it.

While Georgia was on the toilet at the morning, her mom’s sparkly wedding ring caught her eye. It was sitting in a tray with another ring right next to the sink, near the toilet.

“Where was mommy’s ring,” 4 News Now asked Georgia.

“In here,” Georgia said pointing to the toilet.

She dropped her mom’s wedding ring while sitting on the toilet.

“What’d you do after that?” Katie asked her daughter as she was sitting next to her.

“I flushed it,” she told her mom.

Georgia said she checked the toilet after she flushed it; she told 4 News Now it wasn’t gone.

“In the pipes,” she said.

A few minutes after she flushed it down the toilet, she went to her parents to tell them what she did.

Katie says she and her husband jolted awake, trying to find it. They thought it might’ve just fell somewhere around the toilet.

It didn’t.

Katie and Erik spent Sunday in distress, trying to figure out what to do to get it back.

“She’s like that’s okay mom, daddy can just go to the ring store and buy a new one,” Katie recalled.

They ended up calling a plumber, then Erik rented a camera himself to look through the pipes. They didn’t find it. The ring was insured, and Katie said they started a claim on it, but they kept trying what they could.

After posting on Facebook, someone suggested they call the sewer company. Crews from Spokane County said they were in the area and they could look for it.

“It was just one of those things that it just, prayer and a miracle that it showed up,” Katie said.

Crews ended up finding it in the pipes more than 300 feet away from the Kettenton’s home Monday afternoon. Katie said they found the ring just a few feet away from bigger pipes. If more people were to turn on the water or flushed the toilet a few more times, it would’ve been gone.

Spokane County crews ended up knocking on her door around 2 p.m. that Monday with her ring.

“Pretty much collapsed on the front steps there, because I was completely in disbelief,” Katie said.

Georgia and the rest of the family were happy to have it back. Now, they know better. Katie said she felt like she let her daughter down, sad at herself because she didn’t teach her daughter not to do that.

“We learned a few lessons that day,” Katie said.

Spokane County spokesperson Martha Lou Wheatley-Billeter said their crews do not retrieve lost rings in pipes often. She said the “stars aligned and heaven smiled” for that to happen.

The county also sent a statement:

“Wastewater Operations is happy for the owner that this incident had a happy ending, especially since this usually doesn’t happen. We also remind the public that this was an exception to our daily operations and that the retrieval of flushed items is not a typical service provided by Spokane County Environmental Services’ Wastewater Operations Section.”

“Whoever they are, they saved my day and we have quite the story to tell now,” Katie said.