American actor Ryan Reynolds revealed that a stolen custom Build-A-Bear, which contained the voice recording of a mother’s message to her daughter before she died, has been found and returned.
The 43-year-old actor wrote on Twitter on Wednesday (local time), “In happier news… thank you, everyone, who searched high and low. To the person who took the bear, thanks for keeping it safe. Vancouver is awesome. #FoundMarasBear.”
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) July 29, 2020
According to sources, Reynolds, previously offered a USD 5,000 reward for the bear.
The search effort for the ‘Mama Bear’ had ramped up in Canada, thanks to a local reporter and the actor’s USD 5,000 “no questions asked” pledge to whoever returned the cuddly teddy.
After four days, Mara Soriano was reunited with the plush keepsake, which is said to be in “perfect condition.”
Soriano told the sources late Tuesday at the rendezvous point, “She’s home. I didn’t think she would come back, but she did.”
Soriano said she checked countless alleys and dumpsters in Vancouver’s West End. However, it wasn’t until she received an email from a stranger claiming to have information regarding the disappearance that she began holding hope for the bear’s safe return.
“Of course, I jumped on it, because it was a lead,” she said.
“I called (reporter) because she was the person who broke the story, and I couldn’t have done this without her, so I wanted her to be there, too. Plus, she’s a grown-up, and I wanted to make sure everybody was safe.”
“They brought the bear over to the source, which was a safe meeting place … and we did it.”
Soriano said she had placed the backpack containing the bear down while she went to tend to a friend who called her explaining he had been struck by a van while cycling over to assist Soriano and her fiancé with their apartment move.
It was in that moment that Soriano said she forgot where she placed the bag and it was picked up, along with an iPad, blank chequebook, Soriano’s green card as well as the passports and social insurance cards of her and her fiancé’s.
She said, “It’s a reminder of home. The bear has a message in it in Filipino. It says ‘I love you,’ but in our language. So it’s very specific and very unique.”
Surveillance video nearby would capture a man intercepting the bag as he walked past it.
“They liberated her,” Soriano said of the bear, which was returned by two men who didn’t want to be identified by the outlet.
Soriano said she also gave the men a small amount of her own money as “collateral” until Reynolds’ pledge came through.
According to Soriano, she had her late mother’s voice recorded and placed into the bear after her mother went into hospice care for cancer treatment.
“At hospice her voice was different. Much softer. Not the mom I grew up with,” she mentioned to sources. “That bear is the last memory I have of her speaking in her normal voice. She said that she loved me and she was proud of me and that she’ll always be with me.”
Soriano’s mom died of cancer in June 2019.