Afton couple finally finds woman named in message in a bottle

JOPLIN, Mo. - The journey started in Afton, Oklahoma, but landed in Joplin, Missouri, after taking a journey of its own around the country in-between; now, hundreds of people wanting to know, 'who is Sarah Hendrickson?'

One can never guess what hides between the waves, some days maybe only a few ducks and a sunset. 

But two weeks ago Aimee and Josh Gelinas couldn't believe what they found. 

“I saw the message inside of it and I grabbed it, and I didn’t want to get too excited about it because you know what’s the odds of that?" Afton resident Aimee Gelinas told 2 Works for You last week. 

Skimming the land around Grand Lake with a tractor a tiny glass miracle emerged. 

“It could’ve really came from a lot of different places," said her husband Josh Gelinas. 

They wanted to find who it was addressed to, Sarah Hendrickson, and ask her why a 14-year-old in 1993 would do such a thing. 

“I hope she reaches out to me, I think I would even travel to get it to her wherever she might be just to see her face," Aimee said. 

They had already felt a connection to a woman they didn't know if they'd ever meet. 

Lucky for them, the story found its way to an angel. 

Search Squad is a group on Facebook that helps people find birth families mostly, but we branch out and do other searches as well," said Search Angel and Tulsa resident Susan Barrett. 

With the information Aimee had she and about 65,000 "search angels" looked. 

“She gave me the information, I took it to the group about 5 o’clock and by 7 o’clock she had her on the phone.”

“I got the goosebumps all over, and I said I cannot believe I’m talking to you," Aimee said. 

They found her, Sarah Hendrickson. 

But as it turns out, the then 14-year-old military brat living in Woodbridge, Virginia, knew nothing about a mysterious message in a bottle. 

But, the now woman Sarah Lindgren, had an idea of who would. 

"Oh, my God. It is my grandmother's handwriting! It is." she cried. 

Sarah believes her grandmother, Fay Hendrickson, wrote the note and set it into the Spring River where she lived in Carthage, Missouri. 

GRDA confirmed it's likely the bottled endured a 25 year journey to and through Grand Lake to make its way to Aimee and Josh. 

“I’d give anything just to see the look on her face now.”

Her grandmother died 13 years ago. 

“She did it knowing in her heart  it would be found and it was found," Sarah said. 

But she had help. 

“I think my late husband and my grandma are working together up there.”

Our story trying to find Sarah airing on her late husband's birthday. 

“I know she’s smiling in heaven right now.”

Sarah placed the bottle among family photos, now her most prized possession, to write a message of her own back to her grandmother. 

“I’d ask her what she was thinking.”

Also thanking her for not only sending something so special, but new friends and a lesson after life's own lessons made for some trying years. 

“I think a lot of it was just kind of to let me know that things do come back around. They may get lost for a while but they do come back around.”

Sarah and Aimee not only plan to send a message in a bottle out together, but with their granddaughters once they turn 14. 

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