Etowah woman returns $13,000 found in purse on Florida beach

Etowah woman returns $13,000 found in purse on Florida beach

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"There was a lot of money in the money bag and a lot of money down in the purse," said Darlene Curley. "There was a lot of money in the money bag and a lot of money down in the purse," said Darlene Curley.
Curley found the purse floating and turned it over to Beach Safety officers, who discovered it contained a bank bag with $13,000 cash as well as several thousand dollars' worth of jewelry. (source: Volusia County Beach Safety) Curley found the purse floating and turned it over to Beach Safety officers, who discovered it contained a bank bag with $13,000 cash as well as several thousand dollars' worth of jewelry. (source: Volusia County Beach Safety)

By MIKE KRAFCIK
6 News Reporter

ETOWAH (WATE) - A McMinn County woman is being hailed a good Samaritan after returning a bundle of cash she found on a beach while on vacation in Florida.  

The money was found floating in the water by Etowah resident Darlene Curley outside the Super 8 Motel in Daytona Beach, Fla. Curley was staying there with her family on a beach trip after taking a Caribbean cruise.  

The woman who lost the purse was visiting at the time; she lives in Maryland. 

Curley says was getting ready to conclude the family vacation Sunday morning when she and her 16-year-old daughter decided to take a final swim before heading back to Tennessee.  

"There was a lot of money in the money bag and a lot of money down in the purse," said Curley.  

Curley found the purse floating and turned it over to Beach Safety officers, who discovered it contained a bank bag with $13,000 cash as well as several thousand dollars' worth of jewelry.

"We had no idea what happened to the person, because there was two towels lying down, there was a belt laying there, shoes laying there. I mean someone could have been easily knocked off the boat or something," said Curley.

The valuables were later returned to Mary Self, 49, of Harwood, Md., who told authorities she lost the bag while walking the beach days earlier.  

"She decided to take a dip in the water, and I guess she got her stuff too close to the water as she turned around, and it had already swept it out," said Curley.  

Curley says Self called her to thank her for finding the purse.  

"She called me last night and told me she'd really like to get together and meet me somewhere," Curley said.  

Curley has received calls from people all over the country, including from Hollywood.

She says Paramount Studios wanted to fly her out Wednesday night for a meet and greet with Mary Self. Curley says she's been asked to appear on a late-November taping of the "The Doctors" talk show.

Curley says the thought of keeping all that money never entered her mind.  

"I wasn't raised to take something like that. My dad always told me you have to work for your money," said Curley.

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