California Woman Meets Norwegian Man Who Found Her Late Father’s Ring Over 2 Decades Ago

Mike Galeotti

“It's a Cinderella story that you can't, can't even imagine. And it's really, it's about a girl meeting her father for the first time and sort of spiritually, if you will," Abby Boretto told Inside Edition Digital.

A California woman has met a man from Norway who found her late father’s ring over 20 years ago.

Abby Boretto has waited her entire life for this moment. The 50-year-old mother lost her father when she was just 15 months old.

Her father perished in a helicopter crash while serving in the Marines during a NATO mission known as “Operation Strong Express,” on the Island of Grytoya in Northern Norway in the fall of 1972.

The incident, which occurred during the height of the Cold War, was described as “war games” between NATO and the Soviet Union. Five soldiers perished in the accident.

Around 27 years ago, Abby’s mother was presented with a military ring that belonged to her late husband after Dr. Hans Krogstad came across the ring at the crash site while hiking the mountain in Grytoya.

“The ring sat in those elements for 22 years, in the Norwegian elements on top of this mountain, 2,500 feet above sea level in this moonscape of a place. I mean, you just can't believe it,” she told Inside Edition Digital.

Abby says that Dr. Krogstad was able to get in touch with various military organizations for the ring to be returned to the next of kin.

The Naval ring which belonged to Abby Boretto's father that was found in Norway. - Abby Boretto

Eventually, Abby was given her father’s ring but put it away in a box of memories about a man she never knew.

Last year, as Abby was set to turn 50, she found the ring again and wanted to find a way to get in touch with Dr. Krogstad and meet him to thank him in person.

While many people in this day and age are on social media, Dr. Krogstad was not, which made Abby’s search more difficult, she said.

However, something remarkable happened around the same time — he was trying to find her.

“Unbeknownst to each other, he was also looking for me. At the same time, he had happened to bump into somebody and it triggered the thought about the ring. And so he started reaching back out,” she said.

She says that Dr. Krogstad’s son was friends with a journalist in Norway, who was able to use his resources and find her.

“I believe that I've been guided to this moment. I wasn't equipped at 23 years old to take on this knowledge that I'm learning,” she said.

After it took nearly 30 years for her and Dr. Krogstad to meet, it finally happened last month as she trekked to Norway for the first time and hiked up to the crash site where her father and the other soldiers perished.

She hiked up the difficult mountain 50 years to the day of her father’s crash. The Norwegian military put a plaque commemorating his life and the other lives lost that day at the sight.

“We stood on that mountain 50 years to the day. That is an amazing feat. If you could understand where this is at the top of the world. It is within the Arctic Circle,” she said. “It was an amazing feat for me. It's quite treacherous. It's pretty difficult. It's a high level hike and we trained for it, thankfully.”

She said she felt her father’s presence with her as she made the difficult trek to the spot and met Hans, who is now in his 70s and arrived by helicopter to the area.

“I feel like I absolutely have a relationship with this person that I've never known,” she said of Hans and their quest to meet one another.

Through the process of meeting him, getting to the spot where the crash occurred and learning more about her dad, she feels as if she is meeting him for the first time.

“It's a Cinderella story that you can't, can't even imagine. And it's really, it's about a girl meeting her father for the first time and sort of spiritually, if you will. You know what I mean? Because obviously he's not here, but boy has he been here the whole time,” she said.

Abby has been documenting her journey for an upcoming documentary that she hopes to release next year. In doing this, she also feels closer to the father she never knew.

“It is very interesting for me to watch any footage from Operation Strong Express, especially if I'm to see the inch on the ship that he served on, or any of the helicopter flights during any of that very grainy tapings from back in the day footage,” she said. “But to know that my father was walking around in there, is an interesting feeling. It's very Titanic. It's very romantic. It's very historic… Very ghostly.”

Related Stories