Private eye helps find heir to family Bible

Margaret Williams and Margaret Ann Rhodes found themselves unexpectedly grateful to a Grand Junction private investigator who on Thanksgiving morning helped reconnect the two after more than 40 years.

“I just remember saying, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you,’ ” Williams said of her holiday conversation with Bob Wall.

Wall, owner of Wall Investigations, got up at 4 a.m. on Thanksgiving to begin smoking a turkey. While waiting for the sun to come up, he read a story on the front page of The Daily Sentinel that explained how Williams had been searching for Rhodes so she could pass down a Bible that has been in the family for nearly 200 years.

Tradition in their family holds that the Bible is passed on to the next in line with the Christian name of Margaret.

“I just thought, what better way to celebrate than to help other people give thanks?” Wall said.

His wife encouraged him to use his professional resources to help reunite Williams and Rhodes. A quick search in a specialized database revealed five people named Margaret Rhodes living in Colorado. But, only one on the list had the middle name of Ann, and she was living in Lakewood.

He called Williams with the past three recorded addresses and phone numbers for her missing cousin.

At first, Williams was apprehensive, expecting Wall to charge her for the information. “He was just the kindest man because he said he wouldn’t charge us anything,” Williams said.

“People in my profession are often considered bottom-feeders,” Wall said with a laugh. “But we do a lot of positive things for people, too.”

Williams immediately called the most current phone number, carefully asking for Margaret Ann Rhodes.

“I hadn’t heard from her in such a long time,” Rhodes said of her unexpected holiday phone call. “It was just so very exciting and I still can’t believe what happened.”

Williams informed Rhodes that, according to family tradition, she was next in line to inherit the Bible. “I had thought about it, but I didn’t have the slightest clue of how to find her,” Rhodes said. She told Williams she would gladly accept the gift when the time comes, and promised to carry on the genealogical record of the family, included in the worn pages of the 178-year-old Bible.

The Margarets are making plans to meet in person after the holidays.

Both are extremely thankful to Wall for his help. “Thanksgiving is the beginning of the Christmas season and I’m just so grateful to him and to my Lord for all their help,” Williams said.


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