Decades-old letters found in a suitcase in a stolen car to be returned to family descendants

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Posted at 12:28 PM, Feb 17, 2021

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — A suitcase overflowing with letters written between the 1920s and the 1940s was discovered recently in Arizona. Most are addressed to a Tucson woman named Donna.

Somehow, many decades later, they ended up being discovered by Tucson police in a stolen car. Now they will be sent to Donna’s closest living relative.

“I can’t hardly wait. I was told they would be mailed today,” said 85-Year-Old Diane Brentlinger. Diane is Donna’s niece in Indiana.

“My mother, her sister, were very close. I'm hoping I find some letters from my mother to her sister Donna, that would be really neat.”

Among the letters are words from overseas during World War II, and several notes and clippings from before the war.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety was able to track down Donna’s family using social media.

“Within 12 hours we had some leads,” said AZ DPS Spokesperson Sgt. David Ball.

Ball says he’s glad the letters will soon be in the hands of someone who can appreciate them.

“We knew this clearly wouldn’t be something a burglar would find any value in and probably why they were just thrown in the backseat of the vehicle,” he said.

Diane says she’s very grateful.

This story originally reported by Brian Brennan on