Local teacher reunited with lost heirlooms thanks to News 6 unclaimed property special

Glimpse of diamond necklace on WKMG-TV ends 3-year mystery

Jennifer Morsch was convinced the mystery surrounding her missing heirlooms would never be solved, yet she found herself sitting in her attorney’s office with a box from the state of Florida.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Jennifer Morsch was convinced the mystery surrounding her missing heirlooms would never be solved, yet she found herself sitting in her attorney’s office with a box from the state of Florida.

Unclaimed property, assets worth $312 million could be yours

In 2016, the items were discovered missing from her bank safety deposit box without explanation.

The list of missing items included $20,000 in gold coins, her father’s ring, a coin necklace given to her by her father when she was in college and a diamond and gold necklace.

“In an instant, it was like that part of my life had been wiped away,” Morsch said. “I kept thinking this has to be an inside job because only a bank employee could enter that vault.”

Morsch said she had been renting the same bank deposit box in Dr. Phillips since 2003, first with the former Washington Mutual then with newly formed JP Morgan Chase.

On or before Aug. 5, 2016, Chase officials showed her a bank box rows away from the location she had known since 2003.

The key she had used all those years suddenly did not open the bank box

Bank records referred to the box she had been leasing as "box 64.”

Morsch said she had not visited the box since 2012, but she was sure the location the bank showed her in 2016 was not even close.

When the bank couldn’t produce the items or explain what had happened to the items, she took legal action.

She filed a lawsuit against Chase in 2017, arguing Chase “breached its duty” to her when the bank “allowed unknown third parties to physically access safe box 64.”

In the end, the judge ruled the statute of limitations left him no course of action against Chase.

Her insurance only covered $10,000, and under the lease contract, Chase was not liable for the contents or cash, estimated to be more than $30,000.

There was never any proof the items had been stolen or what had happened to them until News 6 broadcast a daylong special within its newscasts helping viewers check to see if they had unclaimed property sitting in the state’s vault.

That’s when Morsch's friend spotted a diamond and gold necklace Morsch had received as a gift from her ex-husband.

She called News 6 and was put in contact with members of the Florida Division of Unclaimed Property.

The state was preparing an auction in Orlando the following day, and every one of Morsch's items was there on the bid list.

She met with state officials and produced a photograph of herself wearing the diamond necklace spotted on News 6, along with a list of the contents in the safe deposit box.

“I asked them if I could go back and hold it,” she tearfully recalled. "I wanted to see it with my own eyes.”

Last Thursday, a brown box arrived at her attorney’s Orlando office from FedEx, courtesy of the state of Florida

As she started to open the box wrapped in brown paper and layers of tape, she became very emotional.

“I can’t believe it,” she said as she shuffled through the items packed in clear plastic holders. "I’m looking for my wedding ring.”

The pear-shaped diamond was there, along with the entire contents of the safe deposit box, including a check for more than $30,000.

It turns out Chase bank sent the items to the state three years ago listed as “owner unknown.”

To this day, no one has explained why.

Morsch’s attorney, Andres Beregovich, is convinced the bank made a mistake but that mistake, in his view, may not be unique.

“Ultimately, my client went through emotional torture," he said. “If it happened to Jenny Morsch, then it surely had to have happened to someone else, and the world needs to know about this.”

“You got results for me," Morsch said with a smile. “I just think Chase should be held accountable.”

Chase has remained silent on the matter, and there is no paper trail showing when the items were removed or why.

About the Author:

News 6’s Emmy Award-winning Investigative Reporter Mike Holfeld has made Central Florida history with major investigations that have led to new policies, legislative proposals and even -- state and national laws. If you have an issue or story idea, call Mike's office at 407-521-1322.