Boy Denied $10,000 He Found Due to Obscure 1939 Law


As a parent, one of the virtues I’ve tried to teach my kids was honesty. I hate people that lie as you can’t trust them in anything else if you can’t trust what they say or do. The same goes for stealing, which is a form of dishonesty. If you find something that belongs to someone else, it’s not yours to keep unless you go through proper channels.

Cody Schaefer of Rapid City, South Dakota taught his son Tyler the same values.

A year ago, they checked into the Hilton Airport Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri. Tyler is a typical 10 year old boy and began looking through everything in the room. In a drawer, he found a jar that contained $10,000 in non-sequential $100 bills still wrapped in money wrappers.

Cody said that they toyed with the idea of keeping the money, but knew that the right thing to do was to turn it over to the police. At the time they turned it in, they really didn’t expect to ever get the money, but one always hopes.

A year passed and no one came forward to claim the money. The police say that throws some suspicion as to who the money may have belonged to. Tyler and his father then tried to claim the money with plans of putting it towards his college education.

However, due to an archaic and obscure Missouri law dating back to 1939, young Tyler will not be rewarded for his honesty. The law requires that Tyler and his dad, in the first 10 days from finding the money, had to have filed an affidavit with a state court explaining where and when they found the money. Then they had to post a noticed on the court house door along with 4 other public places for three consecutive weeks.

So now what happens to the money you ask? If no one comes forth to claim the $10,000 in the next four years, the police will turn the money over to the state and it will be put into the state treasury.

Even though their find of the money made headlines around the Missouri area, no one from the police or state government bothered to inform the South Dakota visitors of the law until they tried to claim the money after year. Not knowing about the obscure requirements, Cody and Tyler did not comply, so now they are out of the $10,000 find. After the negative experience, I wonder how honest Tyler will be the next time he finds any money or something of value?

Personally, I believe that it was the duty of the police and/or state officials to go over the law with the father and son when they turned in the money, especially since they were from out of state and soon returning back to South Dakota. It seems the oversight was intentional so that the state would get the money instead of the honest 10 year old boy that found it. Due to the negligence of the police, the money should be returned to Tyler and that the public needs to inundate the Kansas City Police Department with emails, letters and phone calls demanding that they turn over the money to Tyler as it should rightfully be his at this time.

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