Late husband's dog tags returned to wife after more than 50 years lost in the woods

Late Husband's Dog Tags Returned to Wife 50 Years After They Went Missing

MADISON COUNTY, Ala. – A New Market man out hiking found a treasured piece of history from the 1950s, but what's amazing are the connections made from this discovery.

Marc Criley lives on Cedar Gap Mountain. Every now and then he roams the area with a metal detector to see what he can find. Last Sunday, the ping from Criley's metal detector unveiled a precious piece item.

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"This belonged to a family here that served our country," said Criley.

Once he moved back the leaves, he unearthed two dog tags engraved, CAGLE, KELLY H.

"We went to the internet," explained Criley. "We looked up Kelly Cagle we found an obituary for Mr. Cagle and called his family."

They were just a little over a mile down the road.

"He said, 'Well, I think I found your daddy's dog tags,'" said Kelly's son, Mark Cagle. "And he came up here and he wanted to meet me and my mother."

The tags were free of corrosion after being buried for more than half a century. Criley returned the tags to the rightful owner, Virginia Cagle, Kelly's sweetheart of 51 years. Now she holds her husband's tags from serving in the Army in the Korean War.

"After I looked at them, I almost cried, because it had been so long and it brought back a lot of memories," shared Virginia.

Kelly served in the Korean War from 1951-53. Virginia says he lost the tags back in the 50's and she never thought she'd see them again. Her husband passed away in 2006.

"At the time, me and my husband lived down below where he found the tags," explained Virginia.

Etched with his memory, these tags are now rightfully with the family again thanks to a kind man looking to bring history full circle.

"To just be able to return it to his family and bring back this little piece of history," shared Criley. "It really meant a lot to us, it really did."

The Cagle family plans to proudly display the tags along with Kelly's other military belongings. As for Criley, he says this is, by far, the coolest thing he's ever found in the woods.

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