James Nichols is a 23-year-old young man from Derbyshire, England, who met the love of his life online and in January, finally met 21-year-old Cheynee Holloway in person. Holloway lived in Johannesburg, South Africa, so Nichols made the 12-hour flight from his home to hers, and the two young lovers met in person for the first time.
Sometimes, initial meetings of online couples can turn out to be disappointing — or worse, as the April Inquisitr story at this link made painfully clear. But not this one. Everything was going as well as they’d hoped, and the meeting was so romantic that the day after Nichols arrived at Holloway’s South Africa home, they couple hiked to the top of Johannesburg’s highest peak, Northcliff Hill.
At an altitude of 5,000 feet at its highest, the scenic cliff overlooks the city and makes the perfect spot to watch the sun set beautifully over the city.
That’s where they were, when they decided to preserve the moment in a photograph. Nichols was in the process of setting up a tripod to take what should have been a memorable image, when the worst possible thing happened.
Cheynee was standing on a rock — that suddenly slipped out of place. The beautiful young woman fell, tumbling 50 feet down the steep hillside until a pathway stopped her fall.
Nichols at first didn’t know what had happened. Witnesses reported hearing him shout, “Where is she? Where is she?”
He quickly found her, lying bloodied and broken on the cliffside below.
Nichols frantically performed CPR for 20 minutes until paramedics got to the scene of the disaster. But there was nothing anyone could do. Cheynee’s injuries were too severe and she was pronounced dead at the scene.
Obviously, the tragedy was a terrible blow for Nichols. The best he could do to ease the pain was to collect a memento of his girlfriend — and she had left one for him. Shortly before they met in person, Cheynee sent James a video, in which she placed a rock on top of a rock pile in Johannesburg’s Botanical Gardens.
She promised him that they two of them would go get the rock together when they met. Instead, Nichols was left to pick up the rock alone.
Fast forward to last Thursday morning. Nichols had his car parked at a motel where he was staying in the northern English city of Salford Quays. He had brought the rock with him on a hiking trip, to make himself feel as if Chyenee was with him. But when he came out to his car, some thief had smashed the rear window — but taken only one thing.
Yes, the thief took a duffel bag that contained the rock from South Africa, Nichols’ one item to remember his one day with his love.
“Whoever has took it obviously won’t have realized and have probably just thrown it. But it’s so important to me and it can’t be replaced… After Cheynee died, I made it my mission to find it, and to find the exact rock she left like that and bring it back to England was unbelievable. It’s something I would cherish for the rest of my life.”
James Nichols is now offering a £300 reward — about $460 — to anyone who finds and returns the treasured memento. He says he doesn’t want to get anyone in trouble. He just wants the rock back.
[Images via Manchester Evening News]