Tips pour in after binder found in wall; owner found in WA - WNEM TV 5

Tips pour in after binder found in wall; owner found in eastern WA

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COLLEGE PLACE, WA (KPTV) -

Two days after a Forest Grove couple found a scrapbook full of old photos in a laundry room wall, FOX 12 viewers helped track down the woman pictured in the book hundreds of miles away.

Avamarie Cowles said she and her husband were doing a remodel at their home when they found the binder, and they managed to link it to a woman named Shirley Rairdan. After looking through the binder, Cowles and her husband were able to determine Rairdan attended Yamhill-Carlton High School in the mid-1950s, meaning she would likely be in her 70s.

"Ever since I've found this, it's all I can think about," Cowles said. "And I see a lot of myself in her. Like this person ... she kind of woke something up in me. Like it's my personal vendetta to find out who she is and find her."

After seeing FOX 12 reporter Steve McCarron's story Tuesday night, a number of people sent tips to the FOX 12 newsroom, including one person who organized class reunions at Yamhill-Carlton High School. That tip led FOX 12 to Shirley McKnight (formerly Rairdan), who now lives in College Place, WA.

McKnight said her parents lived in the Forest Grove home where Cowles found the binder for 18 years.

When she was informed the binder held a playbill for a 1954 production of Best Foot Forward, McKnight's memories of her starring role in the play that year came rushing back.

"I played a movie star who came to visit this college and all the boys liked me and all the girls hated me because I was so good looking - it was so much fun playing that part," she said.

McKnight said she's thrilled to learn of the binder, which she didn't even know existed and may have been created by her mother.

"I would love to talk to this lady," McKnight said of Cowles.

Watch FOX 12's report on the binder from Tuesday night here.

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