CAYCE, SC (WIS) - A Midlands couple is just starting their lives together, but their beginning has been complicated with two major hurdles.
Evon and Savannah Chandler were married in May, but their nuptials were not greeted kindly by fate. Savannah lost her engagement ring at Columbiana Mall one day after their engagement party.
The engagement party was a sweet reunion - her mother, who lives with chronic pain, traveled from Adairsville, GA and was reunited with her sister, who she had not seen in 20 years.
Evon said he treated the three ladies to a sweet treat from the Chocolate Monkey and things got messy for Savannah.
"The caramel got onto my wife's hands," Evon detailed. "She went to the bathroom next to the food court to wash her hands, taking off her engagement ring and setting it by the sink. She then walked out with clean hands but no ring, having been distracted by her aunt and mother as she was drying off."
The mistake wasn't noticed until they left and returned to her parents' hotel. By then, the mall was closed. A call to mall security and a check of the bathroom revealed that the engagement ring was gone.
"But when she realized that her proclivity for being distracted had lost her 'the most precious thing in her life' as she put it. She immediately started blaming herself, tears rushed down her face as frustration hijacked her mind," Evon said. "I have never in my life, granted I'm only 26 years old, seen someone loathe themselves with such fervor as I saw from my wife that day."
But that was just the first hurdle of their union. After they returned home from their honeymoon on May 30, they got back to their home at Granby Crossing Apartments in Cayce to find that their third-floor apartment had been burglarized.
Taken from their home was thousands of dollars worth of electronics and jewelry - a pearl necklace that belonged to Savannah's mother and diamond earrings that were given to her by her grandmother - and both of their laptops.
On Savannah's laptop - priceless laboratory research that was a part of her work as a doctoral candidate.
"She has lost weeks of lab work, work that cannot be rushed, copied and pasted, or contracted out for someone else to do," Evon said. "She will be forced to make that time up."
Evon said Cayce Public Safety responded right away and reported their crime. He said that the couple tried to sleep and reassess things, but it was difficult.
"She was tormented by thoughts of hearing people in the apartment, moving shiftily in the dark hallway. I was kept from sleep by a feeling of being watched, that once my eyelids closed the thief would return," Evon said. "It was during our period of restlessness that we walked the rest of the apartment, checked closets and drawers, and fully began to understand the extent of what had been taken from our home."
Insurance is helping recover the value of what was lost, but cannot replace the sentimental value of the jewelry stolen or hard work taken with her laptops.
"The police have been helpful, but we have requested that our apartment is fingerprinted with no response as of yet," Evon said. "Perhaps, there is a list and we are on the bottom, awaiting our turn to use their resources."
We've reached out to Cayce Public Safety's spokesperson for comment.
Ultimately, Evon says he would like Savannah's engagement ring and laptop returned.
"If I could ask one thing, of anyone who may know what happened to my wife's laptop, please come forward," Evon said. "That computer is worth so much more to us because of the research data that is on it, than it would ever be worth to anyone else."
If you have any information about the ring or the laptop, you can email Evon at E.S.ChandlerWIS@gmail.com.