Message in bottle reaches family after 36 years


One "message in a bottle" has finally made it back home. While on board their yatch "El Cuervo" 36 years ago, Bill and Bonnie Mieras wrote down their coordinates and address, put it in a bottle and tossed it into the Pacific Ocean.

This week, their message made its way back to their daughter, Pam Spagnuolo of Victorville.

"If this bottle could talk, I'm sure there would be a lot of tales that it could tell," said Spagnuolo.

Adrift for years, perhaps, no one knows where the bottle was eventually fished out of the sea. But for the past 20 years, it sat on a shelf in Louie Castillo's home in Chino. He says he picked up the bottle in an antique store.

"There it was on the shelf, and I was looking at it, going, 'Wow, it's got a letter in it.' I read it and I wanted to get it back to her," said Castillo.

Castillo, an amateur sleuth, tried for years to track down the couple with no success. Then on Monday, his friend suggested that he search Bonnie Mieras' name again on the Internet. This time, they found her obituary.

"I've been trying for a long time, and then come to find out she passed away Nov. 4," said Castillo.

He contacted the mortuary, which put him in contact with Spagnuolo. On Wednesday, he fulfilled his promise to find the owner and gave the bottle back to the family.

"It's my father's handwriting. As soon as I saw it, I knew my dad had written that," said Spagnuolo.

Spagnuolo's father passed away 13 years ago. Her mother died last Monday, a week to the day of Castillo's final search.

"There are some that think it was a message from my parents saying, 'Hey, we're together and everything's fine,'" said Spagnuolo.

A message from the beyond, maybe. For their children, it is a priceless gift.

"There's no money and any inheritance that replaces a family heirloom like this," said Spagnuolo.

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