Turtle bearing boy’s initials turns up in same backyard 47 years later

Nadine Kalinauskas
Good News Writer
Good News

In 1965, 13-year-old Jeff Cokeley of Washington County, Pennsylvania, carved his initials into the shell of a turtle. Then he let the turtle go in his backyard.

Forty-seven years later, that same turtle appeared in the same backyard, discovered by the boy's father, 85-year-old Holland Cokeley.

Holland was walking his neighbour's dog, Zack, in his wooded backyard, when the dog stopped to poke at something. It was a turtle.

"I picked it up, and I thought, 'Oh geez, this is Jeff's turtle!'" said Holland, who immediately recognized the "JC" carved on its bottom shell. "It's been here for 47 years, and it still has the same the same markings on it!"

"I pulled the pictures up on the computer. As soon as I saw it, I just started laughing," Jeff, who now lives in New York State, said. "I just had to show my wife."

Holland has since released the turtle back into the woods.

Experts say box turtles under the right conditions can live up to 100 years.