Terry Stone got a sick feeling in her stomach when she dialed a phone number for Bonnie Turner, and no one, not even a machine, answered.
Stone didn’t know Bonnie Turner, nor did she know what happened to the Turners’ Polk County farm on Saturday afternoon. She was only trying to return the two sets of American Kennel Club registration papers her husband had found in the backyard.
But when no one came to the phone, Stone said she knew something just was not right.
"It just rang and rang and rang, and I had a bad feeling when that happened," said Stone.
Stone’s husband, Bobby Stone, had been walking their two cocker spaniels Wednesday morning when he noticed a shiny object in the edge of the woods behind their home in Habersham County.
"It was this plastic sleeve, like a baggy, and it had two sets of registration papers in it," said Bobby Stone.
It was the only debris the couple had in their yard after a series of storms swept across the state last weekend, resulting in "the biggest downpour I’d ever seen," Bobby Stone said.
Bobby Stone carried his discovery inside. Wiping the debris off of it, he saw an address: 988 Live Oak Road.
Bobby Stone said he figured the address must be somewhere near the Stones’ own Tall Oaks Drive address. But then he saw that it was from Aragon.
"And Bob said ‘Well, that’s where those tornadoes were so bad,’" recalled Terry Stone. "That’s when we began to realize that these papers blew all the way here from, gosh, the other side of Atlanta."
The couple, dog lovers themselves, knew that it would be costly for the owners of the registration papers to get new ones, so they wanted to return them to the Aragon woman.
"We know how important the papers are," Bobby Stone said.
That’s when Terry Stone called the number for Bonnie Turner and got a bad feeling.
The feeling was confirmed when Terry Stone called a second number listed on the registration papers. A man who had co-owned one of the Turners’ dogs told Terry Stone that Bonnie Turner had been killed when a tornado leveled her home and threw Bonnie Turner and her husband about 50 yards from their house. Bonnie Turner’s husband, Michael, survived, but was critically injured. About half of the couple’s more than 60 American hairless terriers were found dead on the property, and one of their SUVs is still missing.
The Stones’ discovery came just four days after Denise Caudell found one of the Turners’ family photographs in her Cornelia driveway. Bobby Stone said it was ironic that he had read about the Cornelia woman finding the photograph of Michael Turner in the newspaper, and found more of the Turners’ belongings on his property a day later.
The Stones just did not make the connection before Terry Stone dialed the Turner’s phone number.
"It was the strangest thing, because I didn’t realize who the lady was," Terry Stone said. "This has just been the eeriest experience today to find this and to discover what had happened and everything."
Once the papers are dry, the Stones are going to mail them to an address one of Bonnie Turner’s friends gave them.
But Terry Stone said she wishes she could send them to Bonnie Turner, alive and well and thankful that her AKC registration papers were being returned to her.
"I wish so much it’d had a better ending," Terry Stone said. "But it didn’t turn out that way."