May 15, 2014 at 9:46 PM
(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) -- A 10-year-old boy who turned in $10,000 cash he found in a Kansas City hotel room drawer a year ago may just get to keep the money.
The boy, Tyler Schaefer, and his dad, Cody, had nearly given up hope they would receive the cash. Initially the two believed they had failed to follow the specifics of a state law detailing how found property must be handled.
But after no one came forward to claim the cash found at the Kansas City Hilton Airport Hotel, Missouri State Treasurer Clint Zweifel sent a letter Thursday to Chief Forte, Chief of Staff of the Kansas City Police Department, backing the Schaefer’s right to the cash.
That letter, drafted after a review of state law, regulations, and Missouri’s Unclaimed Property process, requests the KC police to turn the money over to the treasury office so the boy and his father can claim it.
“I am certain you and I agree that this young boy and his father did the right thing by turning the money over to the Kansas City Police Department,” Zweifel wrote in a letter provided to ABC News.
“The Treasurer believes the boy and his father did the right thing,” a spokesman for Zweifel told ABC News. “Now the state has to do the right thing and get the money back to the family.”
This will be great news for the family who had previously said they had low hopes they would ever see the money again.
The story of the find, and the subsequent good deed to hand the cash to authorities, gained national attention. However, media outlets began reporting that the money might not be awarded to the Schaefers a year later, an assumption based on Missouri state law, last revised in 1939, that outlined various rules to be followed when property is found.
Under Missouri law, Section 447, the Schaefers had 10 days within finding the money to file an affidavit stating where and when the cash was found. Other statutes required Schaefer to physically post an announcement about the find at the courthouse door and four other public places, as well as put in a newspaper advertisement in the township or city where the money was found.
That's not what the Schaefers did. Instead, Cody Schaefer gave the money to two off-duty police officers, and the Schaefers packed up and went on their way back home to South Dakota from their trip.
"We did the right thing and turned it in," Cody Schaefer told ABC affiliate KMBC. "At least it's something to show that doing the right thing is actually worth doing the right thing for, you know?"
Now, once the money is received by state treasury officials, the Schaefers can file the paperwork to claim it.
The Schaefers did not return ABC News' calls requesting comment.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio