New York Seltzer Water is offering a pretty cool reward of a year’s supply of its product for anyone that can help #findChris :)
— New York Seltzer (@DrinkONYS) January 6, 2016
A California boy and his mom are trying to crack a mystery: finding the writer of a 28-year-old message in a bottle he found on New Year’s Eve.
Ryder Goggin of Mendocino, California, was on the beach with his mom walking along a nearby creek when he spontaneously crawled down and crossed a log, Heather Baird, Ryder’s mother, told ABC News.
“I didn’t want to cross, and all of a sudden he started yelling to me,” Baird said. Ryder, who turned 5 on New Year’s Day, had found a “treasure” — a message rolled inside a bottle of New York Seltzer.
It took a while to get the bottle open; bugs and some rust had sealed the cap shut. Inside, the message was rolled in plastic wrap, almost completely intact, Baird said.
Dated Sept. 5, 1988, the message read: “Hi — my name is Chris. I am 10 years old and in the 5th grade. I live in Sacramento. Call me when you find this to let me know where it washed ashore. September 5th 1988.”
It included a phone number, which Baird would later find out was disconnected. A date at the bottom of the bottle confirmed the message was from nearly 30 years ago.
“I didn’t believe him at first,” Baird said. “He was really excited, he was yelling about it. When we opened it, he seemed a little disappointed because he wanted it to be a treasure map.”
Baird posted photos of the message on Facebook, asking her friends to help her find the writer, Chris. Her post, which included photos of the bottle and the note, has since gone viral; more than 4,100 people have shared it on Facebook, and hundreds have posted about it on Twitter. It even originated a hashtag: #findChris.
“We haven’t found him. A lot of people are looking and I have gotten tons of messages about it,” Baird said. “I would like to hear that he was an adventurous kid and his life went really well.”
“I gave the number a call, and of course it was disconnected,” Baird said.
The crew at KTXL in Sacramento took the phone number and searched for the letter-writer. The staff opened a special room with public records archives. There was nothing for 1988. But in 1981, there was a name – Cliff Farnsworth.
That was clue No. 1.
It was a long shot, but back at the station, staff searched and searched – then called and called. They even started calling any 36- to 39-year-old Chrises, Christophers, Christinas, Christine’s – and still nothing.
Then there was another clue. Baird said her aunt at the Library of Congress in Washington DC had found out that the number belonged to another person in 1988.
He had passed away. The station reached out to his family, but came up short.
“I think it would be great to find Chris and find out where he put the bottle in the water,” Baird said.
It’s a romantic story of a Sacramento child and his curiosity, now in the hands of a boy at Jug Handle Reserve in Mendocino County.
The hope is that one day they will meet and share their life experiences.
“Well, I hope we find out really good things about how his life went,” Baird said.
Until then, this 28-year-old story in the making will have to be continued.
Copyright 2016 KTXL via CNN. All rights reserved.