A Michigan family is reeling after their beloved matriarch’s diamond wedding rings appear to have been stolen off her fingers at her nursing home over the weekend.
“I was giving my mom lunch [on Monday], and when I pulled her left hand out from under the blanket, there were no rings there,” Sandra Desautels told The Post Thursday of the moment she discovered her mother, Norma St. Holmes’, engagement and wedding rings were gone.
St. Holmes, 92, has advanced Alzheimer’s disease. She moved into Seacrest Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Monroe on Jan. 9, just one week when the precious jewels went missing.
Desautels became emotional when she described how her mother remained fiercely protective of her rings.
“Those rings were my mom holding on to my dad [who died 10 years ago],” she explained.
When Desautels tried to remove the rings in anticipation of St. Holmes’ relocation to Seacrest last week, she said her mother balled her hands up into tight fists.
“You would be shocked at how tight an almost-93-year-old woman can clench her hands,” she recalled ruefully.
“And if you persisted [trying to take them off], she would start, with her other hand, slapping you.”
Eventually, the family decided to let the rings stay on for a few more days. Further attempts to remove them once St. Holmes was settled at Seacrest were unsuccessful.
Desautels, who lives in nearby Ida, remembered her mother wearing the rings when she visited Saturday. They were gone when she returned Monday morning.
“I was very distraught,” she remembered, noting that the staff at Seacrest were “great” and immediately snapped into action.
After searching St. Holmes’ room extensively, DeSautels explained, they moved to “‘Plan B,’” and went through the laundry and kitchen.
None of the searches turned up the rings.
Desautels told The Post that she does not think the rings were stolen by one of Seacrest’s employees.
“I don’t feel like one of my mother’s caretakers is responsible, I don’t,” she insisted.
“It could have been a visitor it could have been any human being who was in that building over the weekend.”
When reached by phone, Seacrest declined to comment on the incident. An employee previously told WXYZ that the possible theft was under investigation.
Desautels, whose husband is a retired deputy, reported the missing rings to the police on Monday. She has not heard back from the department but said she plans to contact them again by the end of the day Thursday.
When asked what she would say to the alleged thief, Desautels begged the ne’er-do-well to “please just do the right thing” and return the jewelry to the nursing home.
“Those are family heirlooms,” she continued, her voice breaking.
“I have three grown daughters, and they are just heartbroken that grandma’s jewelry is gone.”