Update: Family reunited with lost documents, presidential letters belonging to decorated Army veteran

A family in Parkland was looking for the rightful owners of some personal and likely meaningful documents found on the side of the road. A day after our story aired on Thursday, the right family said they saw our report on FOX 13 and their ears perked up.

"I was watching a movie that got over, and I just happened to flip back over to TV, and it was on Channel 13. The news was on, and the story came on about some papers that were found. I’m just kind of okay that’s interesting, and then they said Phillip Saitta, and I was like wait, wait, wait, wait what a minute," said grandson Jack Farnsworth. "Then they said born in 1917, and I turned to my wife and was like, that’s my grandpa. All of a sudden, now we’re like laser-focused on the news story, and then they said the papers have been turned into the Pierce County Sheriff."

We interviewed Kelly Siess and her granddaughter on Wednesday. They showed us where they were walking on Tuesday night in their neighborhood when they found the documents near 126th Street East in Parkland.

"As we were walking, I looked to the right of me and there was a stack of paperwork that looked like a birth certificate, and I’m like wait a minute, this is important," said Kelly Siess. "A letter from Ronald Reagan, from Jimmy Carter and those were secure in an envelope."

The documents share the personal history of Phillip Saitta who was born in 1917 and lived in Tacoma. Many of the documents recognize him for his service in the army.

"My dad was in the military for 27 years. He was an officer and I know his stuff left behind is very valuable to me on a personal level," said Siess. "I really hope the family can be found or somebody who knows something because that’s, like I said, it’s touching. It’s history. It’s family history."

Siess and her daughter Brianna Vukshich reached out to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department and a deputy came to pick up all the papers on Tuesday night.

"My mom comes in and yells, ‘Brianna, get down here. It’s important.’ I’m like OK, so run downstairs and I go out to the back and on the table she just has a bunch of papers sitting there. I’m like what is this," said Vukshich. "Marriage license, death certificate, letters from a president. It’s just so many important things that the family should have. It shouldn’t be sitting out on the side of the road discarded like it’s nothing."

After watching the story on FOX 13, Farnsworth and his wife Cindy started getting the wheels in motion, reaching out to the Pierce County Sheriff's Department and finding a way to connect with Siess and Vukshich. 

On Thursday night. FOX 13 was there when the two families met for the first time. The meeting happened at Marie Saitta's home, or Grandma Saitta as the family calls her.  

"He died the day after my 13th birthday, almost 40 years ago, so this brings back a lot of stuff for me, especially looking at some of his old military paperwork and stuff like that," said Farnsworth.

The families never met before today, but said they feel a deep connection after this special exchange. 

"This morning, when we found out the family has been found it was really emotional for me and once we received pictures of grandma with the paperwork I was even more emotional," said Siess. "I’m just so thankful that everything came together like this, and it’s returned to the proper people, it’s just not on a shelf."

Grandma Saitta is turning 99 years old in eight days, and her family said this was the best birthday gift she could've asked for.

The biggest mystery of finding the rightful owners was solved, but Saitta's family said questions still remain. They told FOX 13, Grandma Saitta's storage unit was broken into back in 2019. They suspect the documents may have been stolen during that incident, but they still don't have an explanation as to how or why the papers ended up on the side of the road in Parkland this week.