After more than a decade of searching, the mystery behind the missing pair of ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in the most-watched film of all time The Wizard of Oz has been solved. The iconic slippers were stolen from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, MN in 2005, and today, thanks to the help of Joe Maddalena, CEO of Profiles in History and EXPEDITION UNKNOWN host Josh Gates, they have been recovered. A special expanded edition of the Ruby Slippers episode of EXPEDITION UNKNOWN will air on Discovery Channel this Wednesday at 8 PM ET/PT and will feature exclusive, never-before-seen content about the recovery of the legendary shoes.
In the episode that aired earlier this year, Hunt for the Ruby Red Slippers, Detective Brian Mattson showed Joe and Josh a photograph of a pair of slippers for authentication and Joe confirmed they are the pair. This confirmation gave investigators confidence to pursue the lead that ultimately led to their recovery.
"This pair of Ruby Slippers is one of the most valuable and iconic lost artifacts in cinematic history," said Josh Gates. "I'm thrilled to have helped tell their story and to play a role in documenting their authentication."
This missing pair is one of merely four screen-used ruby slippers known to exist and belonged to collector Michael Shaw. In 2005, Shaw loaned them for exhibit to the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, MN, where in a bizarre set of circumstances, they were stolen in the dead of night, never to be seen again. With no biological evidence recovered from the crime scene, other than a single sequin from the slippers, the case remained open and active - that is, until today.
"Thirteen years ago, when I learned of the theft of the ruby slippers, I made it a personal mission to see it to the end and find them," said Joe Maddalena. "I never believed anyone would have it in them to destroy them and I definitely knew Michael played no part in their theft. The stars aligned and the day is here, they are recovered. Thank you to all the investigators who aided in this recovery."
Michael Shaw said, "Joe Maddalena promised me thirteen years ago, he would find my ruby slippers and today that promise is kept! Due to Joe and Josh's unwavering time and effort, along with the police and FBI, searching and investigating, my ruby slippers have returned. I am thrilled!"
Gates noted that "the slippers are more than just a movie prop. They're a powerful symbol of nostalgia. Now, after being lost for more than a decade, the Ruby slippers are finally safe. There really is no place like home."
EXPEDITION UNKNOWN is produced for Discovery Channel by Ping Pong Productions.
About Discovery Channel
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