Cody Schaefer had written off any chance that his son would get to keep the still unclaimed $10,000 that the boy found in a Kansas City hotel room drawer last year.
But on Thursday, the Missouri state treasurer provided new hope with a letter to Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forté asking for police to turn the cash over to state authorities to begin the process of returning the money to Schaefer and his son, Tyler.
“We were surprised,” Cody Schaefer said Friday. “We just did the right thing and figured if we didn’t get it, then we didn’t get it.”
Schaefer, who lives in South Dakota, said he is optimistic that state officials will find a way to get the money to his son. He said his son is generous and would probably want to share the proceeds with his two siblings.
Schaefer said he would allow the kids access to a small amount of money immediately to buy something, but he would like most of the money put in his kids’ savings accounts so they could use it later for vehicles or college expenses.
“It’ll be put to good use,” he said. “It’s exciting.”
Schaefer and his son were visiting Kansas City last May when they stayed at the Hilton Kansas City Airport hotel. Tyler rummaged through all the drawers, feeding his insatiable curiosity. He stumbled upon a pile of neatly stacked bills, still in cash wrappers.
The pair gave the cash to uniformed off-duty officers working at the hotel. Police officials have been holding onto the money ever since, waiting to see if an owner would surface. No one has come forward.
Missouri law gives the rightful owner one year to claim lost money. The one-year anniversary is May 25.
Police officials and state treasurer officials previously indicated the boy and his father needed to follow steps outlined in state statutes, which included filing an affidavit with a state judge within 10 days.
But on Thursday a spokeswoman with the treasurer’s office said different statutes apply once that office receives the money as unclaimed property.
“Treasurer (Clint) Zweifel will review a claim for property based on all of the facts that he has received from the holder, in this case KCPD, and try to determine who has a claim to the money,” spokeswoman Meghan Lewis wrote in an email response to The Star.
“The Schaefers will need to demonstrate that they have a claim to the property.”
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