$10,000 still unclaimed, but law from 1939 says the honest boy who found it won’t get to keep it

Charlene Sakoda
Odd News
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$10,000 still unclaimed, but law from 1939 says the honest boy who found it won’t get to keep it

An honest boy who turned in $10,000 he found in an airport hotel room will not get to keep the cash even though it has gone unclaimed for a year.


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On May 25 last year, then 10-year-old Tyler Schaefer and his family were staying at the Hilton Airport Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri, before heading back home to Rapid City, South Dakota. A curious boy by nature, Tyler combed through the hotel room and made a shocking discovery.

In 2013, KMBC 9 News spoke to the Tyler’s father, Cody Schaefer, who said, "We just let him open all the drawers and he's like, 'Oh look! I found some money,' …and he pulled it out of the drawer and it was a bunch of money." Tyler found stacks of $100 bills with non-sequential serial numbers totaling $10,000.

Tyler and his dad immediately turned in the money to two uniformed off-duty police officers working at the Hilton. A police report was filed and the money was stored at the police department as Missouri state law dictates. State law is also what will keep the honest father and son from receiving the unclaimed money.


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The Kansas City Star reports that a Missouri law written in 1939 lists instructions that finders must follow to claim any lost money. They include, “filing an affidavit with a state court judge within 10 days, physically posting a list describing the money on the courthouse door and at four other public places within the city and publishing ads in a local newspaper for three consecutive weeks.” The newspaper said that even though the family immediately informed authorities, they missed the 10-day deadline. The Schaefers' story sparked national headlines viewed by a huge audience, but that did not satisfy the steps requiring physical postings and newspaper ads, so experts feel that the Schaefers won’t receive the cash.


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In 2013 Cody told KMBC that they weren’t counting on getting the cash saying, "We didn't have the money when we got there, so it doesn't change much." However, the father said that if they did receive it, he would deposit the money into a college fund for Tyler and his two younger siblings.

Recently, Mr. Schaefer consulted an attorney, but was unable to pay the $1000 retainer the lawyer required.

The Kansas City Star notes, if still unclaimed, the money will remain with the police department for four more years, after which it will be given to the state treasurer’s office to be kept ”in a trust forever if an owner doesn’t step forward.” Police Captain Tye Grant said, “We wish the law allowed us to give it back to him.”

Video and more info: The Kansas City Star, KMBC (May 2013)