(Memphis) A Mississippi River guide made a pretty amazing discovery.
He found a message in a bottle on a Mississippi River sandbar.
Inside the bottle was a hand written message to a little girl killed in a car wreck.
The note sparked his interest so much, he just had to find out who wrote it.
Chris Ungren is a river guide used to seeing a lot of things deposited on the Mississippi’s many sandbars, “We see so many bottles. And I probably personally stepped over this bottle a hundred times on this one sandbar.”
For Ungren, this particular bottle was far more than just another “piece of trash” floating down the Mississippi River.
A closer look revealed something out of the ordinary, “When I opened it up and realized that it really was a message in a bottle, it was very exciting.”
The message was a simple hand written note from Anika Alfson to her younger sister Kennedy Reagan Alfson.
And as Chris read the note he quickly realized what he found, “Dear Kennedy. First I just want to say I miss you and I love you. I hope you’re having fun up in heaven. I know you are watching us and that is why we are all alright…”
Kennedy was three years old when she was killed in a crash in South Dakota on March 18th, 2009.
Seven family members each wrote a special note to Kennedy, put each in separate bottles and dropped them into different bodies of water.
The bottle Chris Ungren found was dropped into the Mississippi River during Easter 2010.
That’s when Kennedy’s mom Stacey was in Memphis visiting her brother.
“She was just a fun child who, you know, completed our family,” said Stacy Coughlin.
She’s glad someone found the message in the bottle and believes it’s a sign Kennedy Reagan is still touching lives, “When she gave you a hug, she didn’t just give you a hug, she also patted your back and would say, ‘I love you.'”
Ungren says the message in the bottle was especially powerful for him, “Being that I have three daughters of my own and then learning the story, it was very emotional.”
Kennedy’s family also included their e-mail address on the notes they enclosed in the bottles.
Stacy Coughlin says she hopes the tribute to her daughter will encourage other parents to value every day they have with their children.