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Woman Finds Secret Message 4 Years After It Was Hidden In A Bottle And Sent Out To Sea

Stephanie Winnek had no idea what she was getting into when she found a message in a bottle that had washed up on Cinnamon Beach, Florida. Ms. Winnek didn’t know it at the time, but her discovery on the beach had just embroiled her into the complicated lives of two other women.

“I was working on Cinnamon Beach — the bottle caught my eye," Winnek said during an interview with Inside Edition. "I could tell there was something rolled up in it. It was tied and rolled like a message in a bottle. I couldn’t get the cork out.”

Several days after she first found the bottle, Ms. Winnek decided to break the glass to retrieve the message. When she smashed the bottle, Ms. Winnek found a letter and a woman’s ashes inside. After reviewing the letter, Ms. Winnek realized that the ashes were the remnants of Cindy Rounds, a woman who had died from cancer when she was only 53 years old.

When she died, Ms. Rounds’ daughter, Athina McAleer, knew that her mother would want her ashes to go into the sea around their home in Rhode Island. Rather than throw the ashes into the sea, Athina decided to place them in a bottle and let the currents take them out to sea.

“We thought we would send a little bit of her on a trip,” explained Athina in the enclosed letter. “She never got to travel because she was taken from us at a young age.”

After writing the emotional letter, Athina decided to include her most up-to-date contact information – just in case anyone ever found and opened the bottle containing her mother’s ashes.

“When I opened it, some of the ashes had spilled out of the bag,” said Ms. Winnek. “I put some of the ashes under a palm tree in my front yard. I then contacted the number in the letter.”

After contacting Athina, Ms. Winnek was amazed by how happy and delighted young adult sounded. The pair have talked several times since and they are currently planning a way for Ms. Winnek to send the ashes back out to sea in a new bottle. According to Inside Edition, Ms. Winnek has already written a new note to add to the old note and ashes.

Unsurprisingly, the experience has touched and humbled Ms. Winnek. “It’s amazing. It’s a real-life message in a bottle and that doesn’t happen every day,” she said. “I don’t know if I found the bottle or the bottle found me.”

After Inside Edition contacted Athina, the excited young woman couldn’t stop gushing about Ms. Winnek. “I couldn’t have found a better person to find the bottle,” said Athina. “It’s just really cool that she will continue on. Maybe in four years someone else will contact me saying they found her. She gets to see the world that she never got to see.”

Source: Inside Edition
Photo: Stephanie Winnek, Cindy Rounds

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