CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Kanawha detectives recovered the stolen wedding rings of an Iraq war widow just days before they were to be scrapped.
Authorities have also arrested two of the woman's relatives in connection with the stolen jewelry.
Beth Moore Tomczak, 27, of Fayetteville, N.C., was overjoyed when she received a call from Kanawha Detective A.C. Pile Wednesday afternoon confirming that the white gold wedding bands given to her by her late husband, Army Staff Sgt. Zac Tomczak, had been found.
Detectives found the rings Tuesday at Kanawha Valley Fine Jewelry and Loan in Charleston. They wanted to be sure before they contacted Beth with the news, Pile said.
Some of Beth's stolen jewelry already had been melted down. The wedding rings were a few days away from meeting the same fate.
"She's very lucky," Pile said.
Kevin Hancock, Beth's cousin, sold the jewelry at the store on Dec. 18 for $150, Pile said. His wife, Erika, allegedly took the jewelry from the home. Beth's 60-year-old string of pearls that had once belonged to her grandmother were found at the Hancock's Belle area home.
Kevin, 39, and Erika, 38, both of Witcher Road were charged Wednesday with daytime burglary, a felony. Pile said Kevin turned himself in but that Erika had been less cooperative. Detectives had to serve her with a warrant.
"It was amazing, it really was," Pile said of getting to tell Beth the good news. "When I called to tell her we'd found them, we chit-chatted at first about the case then I asked her which piece she thought was more important, which meant the most to her, and she said without hesitation her rings were the most important.
"I told her 'We're going to make you a happy lady. We've got your rings.'"
Beth was excited but then saddened to learn family members were suspected of the crime. She said she feels "horrible" for Kevin's mother, her cousin.
The rings, along with all of Beth's jewelry, were taken from a jewelry box in her bedroom at her mother's Witcher Creek Drive home Dec. 16. Beth, who recently moved back to North Carolina to help a friend, didn't notice the missing jewelry until she was home for Christmas.
She found her jewelry box empty. The rings her husband had given her weeks after they were married in 2004 were missing. Beth said her cousins had been over the night before for Christmas dinner. Beth said Erika made comments about wanting to "beat up" whoever took the rings.
Beth and Zac had a short courtship. She was 19 and studying political science at Concord University in Athens when she met the 20-year-old paratrooper from South Dakota. They married after about six months. She dropped everything to move to Fort Bragg, N.C., where his unit, the 82nd Airborne, is stationed.
Zac bought the rings after his sergeant asked him why Beth was walking around base without a wedding ring. They went to a nearby mall that day and bought four white gold rings -- an engagement and wedding band for her and two wedding bands, one with diamonds and the other without, for him.
Zac was killed in September 2007 by a sniper just outside Baghdad. He was 24-years-old and was on his fourth tour of duty.
Beth, a travel agent with National Travel, was devastated when the rings were stolen. She told the Daily Mail last week that she tried not to cry after discovering the theft but "broke down and cried just like I did the day I was told he had been killed in action."
"I never expected to get them back," she said Wednesday. "I was so excited."
Beth checked several pawnshops before returning to North Carolina, including Kanawha Valley Fine Jewelry and Loan, with no luck.
Pile said the pawnshop polished the rings and had boxed them up to be returned to Beth.
The detective said the media attention on the case helped the investigation because it got Witcher Creek area residents to come forward with information.
Beth plans to return to Belle this weekend to pick up her rings. She plans to separate the band and engagement ring, which are soldered together, and wear the engagement ring on her right hand. She mighty wear Zac's wedding band on a necklace.
Kevin and Erika Hancock are being held at South Central Regional Jail on $10,000 bond each. A preliminary hearing will be held for both at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 13.