Chesapeake fisherman discovers touching tribute written on floating paper plate

Posted at 4:34 PM, Aug 07, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-08 06:30:03-04

It wasn't the sort of catch Willie Brooks was used to catching in the Great Bridge Locks.

Four years ago, Willie was fishing at the locks when he spotted what he thought was trash in the water.

For two days in a row, he saw the paper plate floating, and eventually tried to reel it in and throw it away.

Willie Brooks fishing

Willie Brooks fishing

But it turns out, the paper plate had writing on it -- two handwritten letters to a girl named Samantha. The letters indicated she had died, and her parents were the ones who were writing to her.

"I picked it up, and I started reading it. Once I started reading it, I was like 'Oh God. 'This is so touching. "



"I could see the words on the plate. But it felt like I was in a dark tunnel going deeper, deeper and deeper. And the sorrow just kept coming and coming. "

Ever since he found the plate, he has held on to it.

He wants to let the parents know he has the letters.

"I just wanted to know if they wanted the plate back or if they meant for it to continue to float or whatever."

And for the last four years, he has prayed for them every day.

"If they`re still here, I want them to know they`re blessed. They`re blessed. Even though I know they miss their daughter, but they`re blessed."

We want to help Willie find the family. If you have any idea who they are, let us know. Email us at