Women’s stolen wallet discovered in vent with 14 others at old Illinois high school 75 years later

Regional News

A Missouri woman has been reunited with her stolen wallet 75 years after it went missing when it was discovered — along with 14 others — during a renovation at her old high school in a neighboring state.

The pastor of City Hope Church, Seth Baltzell, wrote on Facebook the discovery was made amid demolition work at the old Centralia High School in Centralia, Ill. A stash of 15 wallets from the mid-1940’s was found stuffed inside a heating vent.

“While someone took the cash they left behind all the pictures, information and other documents,” Baltzell wrote.

Baltzell, who is moving his church into the school, said the wallets to appeared to have been from mostly women and school ID’s showed they were from the mid-1940’s.

“There are lots of things like pictures of soldiers,” he told KSDK.

After posting the photo and names of people that were discovered inside the vent, Baltzell’s Facebook post received over 1,100 shares.

He was later contacted by the family of 89-year-old Betty June Sissom, who grew up in Centralia and now lives in Chesterfield, Mo.

“I remember it was red and I remember I lost my wallet…I can’t believe this from all these years ago. That’s me with a little boy by the name of Jimmy Kane and I had a crush on him,” Sissom told the television station. “Oh my goodness, look at the boys’ pictures I have. They took all the money, huh?”

Sissom said even without finding money inside, being able to get her wallet with some photos back was “unbelievable.”

“This is exciting,” she told KSDK-TV. “I can’t believe after all of these years.”

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