Man returns teen's things to grieving mother who lost her daughter in a drunk driving crash in 2009

WARREN, Mich. (WXYZ) - The contents of a storage unit in Warren prompted a man who just bought the items to look for its rightful owner.

Adam Heaphy could have turned the other cheek and thrown most of the items away. But returning them was a much more valuable endeavor than attempting to turn a little profit.

Like a box of chocolates, Heaphy never knows what he’ll run into when he bids on these storage units. When customers can’t pay rent on their storage units, the contents will usually go to auction. Guys like Heaphy are often the highest bidder.

It’s a nickel and dime endeavor, but a winning bid on unit E33 at Warren’s Mini U Storage had the potential for something even Heaphy couldn’t appraise.

“We were going through the boxes the other night, and my wife hands me a piece of paper from the prosecutor," said Heaphy. "It said Frances Dingle, four counts of homicide.”

Frances Dingle was sentenced to 25 years in prison for driving drunk and killing four teens back in 2009. One of the victims was 16-year-old Stephanie Currie.

“Some of this stuff is actually the stuff that Stephanie wrote and drew,” said Heaphy as he flipped through a notebook with drawings from the teen.

Heaphy realized he had bought storage belonging to Stephanie’s mother. And he couldn’t just throw it away. So Heaphy made calls, looked up addresses, did everything he could to track down Stephanie’s mother.

And he finally did.

“This is her book” said Heaphy, as he returned the notebook to Diana Noriega. Stephanie's mother couldn't help but flip through the pages. It has been five years since Noriega lost her daughter.

“It’s like getting a little piece of her back." said Noriega, "They searched high and low to find me, and they found me and they reunited me with my baby’s things. And I’m forever grateful to them.”

Through Noriega's gratitude, Heaphy's heart, and the storage unit that connects the two, it's easy to see finding the value of compassion is a priceless journey.

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