Message in a bottle, author found 24 years later

On Aug. 8, 1988, Andy Cornwell and his family were in the midst of their annual summer trek from Boulder, Colo., to Michigan to see his father’s family when he and his sister scrawled messages on pieces of steno paper, sealed bottles and let them float away, all in hopes of getting a response.

Fast forward 24 years and an estimated 485 miles downstream.

Bruce Wansing was out in one of his favorite fishing spots on the Missouri River near the confluence of the Missouri and Osage rivers when he spotted something that looked different than the other pieces of debris that have washed up and remained through the rising and falling of river waters.

Out in the woods, far from his truck, he was curious to read what was clearly a note in the clear glass bottle that had an aluminum, screw-on lid.

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On New Year’s Day, Bruce’s daughter Haley saw the note sitting on her father’s desk and took an immediate interest. Soon Haley was doing Google, Facebook and other searches, hoping to find the named child from 24 years ago, Andy Cornwell.


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