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1993 Grand Lake Message in a Bottle Sender from Woodbridge, VA Found – Now Lives in Missouri

Wooohooo!!!!! Sarah Hendrickson (Lindgren, today) has been found after her message in a bottle floated around for 23 years and ended up in Grand Lake, Oklahoma! She lived in Woodbridge, VA when the bottle was sent back in 1993, and it was thought she might still be in the area. Ultimately, the mystery was solved through Facebook, but not the way you might be thinking. I’ll tell you about it–but first, meet Sarah and Shane!

Sarah Hendrickson / Lindgren with Partner Shane

Sarah and her partner Shane. Photo: Sarah Lindgren / Facebook

Thanks to everyone who shared the story of Aimee Gelinas finding Sarah’s bottle, it ended up getting noticed by the lovely and wonderful Search Squad! The Search Squad is a Facebook group who help others find people they are looking for (if you are ever in need of their top-notch people-finding skills, click here to get to their Facebook page where you can submit a request for help). As you can imagine, this facilitates some inspiring and beautiful reunions–like this one.

Aimee and Josh Gelinas

Josh and Aimee Gelinas. Photo: Facebook / Aimee Gelinas.

Anyway, in a public Facebook post on January 14th, Aimee wrote, “We have found Sarah Hendrickson!!!! We spoke on the phone, shared a few tears together and plan on meeting up soon. We will keep everyone informed of all the details…”

Isn’t that just wonderful?

Naturally, everyone wondered how Aimee had found Sarah. That’s when she explained about the search angels who contacted her on Facebook. “Search Squad!” she said. “They reached out to me and asked if I wanted help and of course we needed it. Talked to them around 5 pm this evening and by 7 I was in the phone with Sarah!”

In responses to the post, Sarah explained that the note, though written on her behalf, was actually penned by her beloved grandmother:

Isn’t that the loveliest thing you’ve heard all day? A band of people in a Facebook group called the Search Squad caught wind of Aimee’s search for Sarah. And then, they just volunteered their time to connect these total strangers. For Sarah, it brought back memories of her wonderful grandmother, and for Aimee, it was a chance to make a new friend.

To me, this is as good as it gets. Selfless, helpful, beautiful.

Sarah Hendrickson / Lindgren's message in a bottle, written by her grandmother. Found by Aimee and Josh Gelinas in Grand Lake, Oklahoma

Sarah Hendrickson / Lindgren’s message in a bottle, written by her grandmother. Found by Aimee and Josh Gelinas. Photo: Aimee and Josh Gelinas.

A Twist in the Story and a Final Mystery

Now, there’s one last twist to this story: Everyone thought Sarah sent the message in a bottle IN Grand Lake, Oklahoma in 1993, where it was found recently by Aimee and Josh. But, according to Sarah, that’s not at all what happened–she wasn’t anywhere near Grand Lake when she and her grandma sent that bottled note!

In further responses on the post mentioned above, Sarah says “It was originally from Carthage, Missouri…I can’t think why my grandma or I would have been near Grand Lake.”

So…how on earth did it get to Grand Lake from Carthage, MO? Well, here’s a map of the region, showing where Oklahoma and Missouri share a border. I’ve marked Carthage and Grand lake, and, as you can see, there are several little rivers and creeks in the region (you can see this even better if you zoom in on the area on Google maps).

Path of Sarah Hendrickson message in a bottle from Carthage, MO to Grand Lake, OK

All I can think is that somehow, Sarah and her grandma dropped their bottled note into a creek near Carthage, MO, and, over the course of two decades, it wound and bumped its way through creeks and rivers to Grand Lake, where it drifted until Aimee and Josh stumbled on it. Amazing! As for which creek the bottle started out in, and the exact route it took to end up in Grand Lake? Your guess is as good as mine!

Well, here is another beautiful connection that never would have been possible without a message in a bottle. I always say that messages in bottles are as close to magic as we can get, and here is the proof! Congratulations to Aimee, Josh, Sarah, and Shane!!!

***If you liked this story, click here to find me on Facebook and like my page for more message in a bottle stories! You never know when YOU could be the one to solve a message in a bottle mystery, regardless of where you are from! Click here to learn more about messages in bottles, and you can always contact me with questions, ideas, or stories.

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