Wayward toys reunited with young owner

The mystery of a boy's backpack found on the highway has been solved, thanks to a little help from Chilliwack's online community.

When Lin Neumann took to social media to track down the owner of the backpack found on the highway

When Lin Neumann took to social media to track down the owner of the backpack found on the highway

What was lost has since been found.

Around 2 p.m. on January 13, Lin Neumann posted a photo of a children’s Marvel Avengers backpack to a Chilliwack Facebook group.

She wrote, “My hubby found this backpack on the freeway […] it was full of little boys things.”

The only contact information she could find was the name Carter, written on the back.

And so the search began.

“I knew it was a long shot,” Neumann told The Progress. Being found on the highway, the backpack could have belonged to anyone who was passing through Chilliwack. But after successfully using social media to find the owner of a lost cell-phone the year prior, she figured it was worth a try.

The community began sharing the post through a variety of forums, and it just so happened to show up in front of the right person.

The backpack owner’s mother Misty Ostlund received word of the post, which a friend of hers had discovered in a Chilliwack Mommy group.

In excited disbelief, Ostlund put out the call, “My son’s name is Carter and he lost his avengers backpack and it is full of toys from Christmas!”

By the morning of January 14, Neumann and Ostlund were in touch.

She can’t say for sure, but Ostlund thinks it’s possible that the backpack was accidentally left on the roof of her dad’s van as she buckled her sons in before driving onto the highway, en route to her grandmother’s funeral.

“I couldn’t get a babysitter, so I packed a bunch of toys into the backpack to keep the kids occupied,” Ostlund explained.

The bag contained hundreds of dollars worth of Christmas toys belonging to her sons Carter (age four) and Bentley (age two), including their favourites – a Star Wars figurine collection and a train set.

“It might not seem like that big of a deal, but this has been the worst year,” Ostlund explained.

After her family had gone through more than their fair share of financial, emotional and health challenges, Ostlund had just about lost all hope. She knew she wouldn’t have been able to replace the toys had they been permanently lost, so her dad offered to help.

But this incredible stroke of luck meant that neither of them would have to.

Chances were slim that someone would find the bag at all, let alone seek out the owner and actually find them. But Ostlund thinks her grandmother might have had something to do with it.

The two were very close. After her recent passing, Ostlund was looking for a sign that she was out there, that she was okay, and that her family would pull through.

“This was that little bit of light that my family really needed,” she said.

Misty’s husband picked up the backpack and brought it home to their kids that evening, who were over the moon to have their beloved toys back in their grasp.

A few days later, Neumann received a thank-you letter from Ostlund, who expressed her heartfelt gratitude.

“Well, we hear so much negativity,” Neumann explained. “I just want people to know that there are good people in this town.”

All she hopes in response is that the community continues to look out for one another.