updated 7/15/2008 2:24:47 PM ET 2008-07-15T18:24:47

BRYANT, Ark. — A 6-year-old girl who found what she thought was a fake diamond ring in a Wal-Mart parking lot has helped reunite a Benton newlywed with her missing $9,000 engagement ring.

Haley Reep Wagnon lost her 1.26-carat diamond ring at a Bryant Wal-Mart on July 8. She reported it missing, and Bryant police reviewed Wal-Mart's surveillance videos and saw that a child picked up the ring.

"I saw a little girl pick up the ring in the parking lot, but I don't think the girl was trying to steal the ring and I don't think the family with her was even aware," Bryant police Detective Todd Crowson said. "She probably didn't even know that it is a real ring."

Police saw the family's vehicle, and were able to determine which Saline County dealership sold it to them. From there, they were able to find out who the truck was registered to — Michael Wheaton of Bryant.

"I got a call about a young lady losing a ring and a little girl picking it up and I said, 'OK, you've got my attention,'" Wheaton said. "I came down to the station and when he showed me the picture, I said, 'That's my brother from Chicago and his kids.'"

Girl thought it was fake
Wheaton determined that his 12-year-old daughter, Destiny, had the ring after her 6-year-old cousin gave it to her. Destiny said the ring, which she thought was fake, was in the back of Wheaton's truck.

"I couldn't believe it, especially when I saw the size of the diamond," Wheaton said. "It had been in my truck for three days. If Detective (Crowson) wouldn't have called me, who knows what would have happened to it. It could have ended up in my daughter's dresser or something."

Wagnon — who was married June 7 — got her ring back in time for the weekend.

"I can't believe I got it back," Wagnon said. "I am just so happy. I just don't know what else to say. This just makes my day."

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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