Behind a steel vault in the Iowa State Treasurer’s Office sits treasures worth $300 million dollars.
The vault is jammed floor to ceiling with boxes. Each contains long forgotten family valuables from cold cash to stocks, bonds and antique jewelry.
Find out if you have unclaimed money!
There are also items you can't put a dollar sign on, like war medals and old family photos.
INSIDE EDITION’s Lisa Guerrero spoke to Iowa State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald. He says most of the valuables come from safety deposit boxes which have been abandoned or forgotten.
“Unfortunately, we can't find the owners,” he told Guerrero.
Guerrero asked, “Can we help you give away some of this money?”
“Absolutely, absolutely,” he replied.
This brought Guerrero to a country road in North West Iowa and a man on top of the lost treasures list. A meat factory worker named Maurice Wittrock, who left a staggering $2.3 million dollars unclaimed upon his death.
Looking at his modest home, you would never imagine he was a multi-millionaire?
Neighbor Jean Kender said Wittrock died last year at the age of 89.
“He was a nice man,” she told Guerrero. “He just didn't want anyone messing with him.”
Wittrock never had kids. He was a lifelong bachelor and invested heavily in Burlington Northern Sante Fe and ConocoPhillips stock.
According to Maurice Wittrock's will, his nieces and nephews are now entitled to this fortune, and Guerrero searched for them so she could tell them the good news.
The trail started in Storm Lake, Iowa. After knocking on some doors and finding no one home, finally a niece answered.
Guerrero asked Wittrock’s niece, “Do you remember your Uncle Maurice?”
She replied, “He was my husband's uncle.”
“Your husband's uncle left you part of a $2.3 million estate?” Guerrero revealed.
Guerrero was expecting a big Publisher’s Clearinghouse moment, instead the niece was unenthused, replying with a… “Yeah.”
The niece then said, “I'm not looking for money from anybody.”
The next stop was Southern California. The late Uncle Maurice has a nephew, Michael Pierce, who lives there. She found his home and knocked on his door. When he opened up, she asked, “Hello, are you Michael Pierce?”
Michael, who looked like he just got out of bed, replied, “Yeah.”
Guerrero told him, “You have a treasure that you might not know about and the details are in this envelope.”
After he opened the envelope, Guerrero tells him, “It says your treasure is a portion of a $2.3 million inheritance. How do you feel about that?”
“That's really neat,” Michael replied with a big grin. “I’m really excited.”
“That's the smile I want to see,” Guerrero declared.
Back at the State Treasurer's Office in Iowa, $300 million still awaits to be claimed.
Hey, who knows, perhaps it could be yours!
Could you have unclaimed property just waiting for you to claim it? To check, click HERE for do a search in your state.