Four days before Christmas, Shannon Dowdle was shopping when she found what most would call that perfect gift on a Skokie sidewalk -- cold, hard cash.
"I went to the car and then I counted the money and I was amazed at how much it was. It was over a $1,000. I got a pit in my stomach and I though, oh wow, someone needs this money for Christmas shopping, and they are going to miss it," said Dowdle.
She took the envelope to three nearby stores, but no one had reported the missing money. So she left her name at each store.
Two days later, her husband Rick and their children went back to one of the stores and inquired. Finally there was a breakthrough.
The store manager said an elderly couple had been in that day asking about the lost money, but the manager, unaware of the earlier events, told the couple no one had turned in their cash. And they did not want to leave their name.
"Now we know it's an elderly couple and that they are upset, makes it even more important to reunite them with their money," said Rick Dowdle.
The family has gone to the police for help, posted info on Craiglist and contacted the bank listed on the envelope, but to no avail.
"I didn't think it would be this hard, " said daughter Brigid Dowdle.
"Hopefully someone watching the news will say, 'maybe that's my dad's money or my mom's money,'" said Shannon Dowdle.
The Dowdles have set up an email account in the hopes of getting more information about the owners of the missing money: email@example.com. They plan on donating all the money to charity if the owners can't be found.