Erik Lightle believes the $10,000 ring, which he’d been carrying in a black pouch, fell out somewhere in South Straub Park.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — On Friday night, a Christmas Eve proposal gone awry has a St. Petersburg couple looking for a missing engagement ring near the St. Pete Pier.

“It almost doesn’t feel real,” Erik Lightle said. He’d been planning a thoughtful Christmas Eve proposal for months.

“It’s our family day,” Lightle said. “It’s the day we picked up our golden retriever, Knox, a year ago. I thought that would be a good day for us to take another step forward as a family.”

He came prepared with a diamond ring, with a black diamond halo, custom-made for Olivia Harms, based on what he’d seen on her Pinterest page.

“He knew I loved black diamonds and wanted something different and he went off of that,” Harms said.

“It came out really great,” Lightle said. “It looks really unique, in my opinion, and it’s just a shame it’s not on her right hand now.”

The proposal began with the couple’s dog carrying a note on his collar for Harms to read. It asked her whether she would marry “his father.” Then, when Lightle went to kneel in the park, he noticed something was wrong.

“It was right about at that time when I realized there was nothing in my pocket, and just sheer panic is the best way to describe that feeling,” he explained.

Lightle believes the ring, which he’d been carrying in a black pouch, fell out somewhere in South Straub Park.

“I really don’t know what happened, if I’m being honest,” Lightle said. “My best working theory is that when I went to take the note out, the ring fell out. But someone would have to come in really quickly to pick it up.”

Now, the couple is hopeful that if someone has the ring, worth roughly $10,000 and uninsured, they’ll return it.

“It’s not about the money. But for someone like me, I’m a staff sergeant in the Army, I’ve been in the army for 12 years, well that’s a significant financial event for me,” Lightle said.

Amid this devastating turn of events, there has been celebration too. Lightle re-proposed when they got home Christmas Eve.

“Of course, I said yes,” Harms said. “How could I not? I love him so much. Ring or not, I mean, it wasn’t the moment we were expecting, but it was the moment for us.”

“We’re going to put our best foot forward and hope for the best. But at the end of the day, we have everything we need right here,” Lightle said.

The ring has been reported missing. If you find it, you can contact St. Petersburg Police.

Lightle is offering a $1,000 reward to anyone who returns it.

By ting