Ryan Reynolds revealed on Wednesday that a stolen custom Build-A-Bear, which contained the voice recording of a mother’s message to her daughter before she died, has been found and returned.
“In happier news… thank you everyone who searched high and low. To the person who took the bear, thanks for keeping it safe. Vancouver is awesome. #FoundMarasBear,” he wrote on Twitter.
Reynolds, 43, previously offered a $5,000 reward for the bear.
The search effort for the “Mama Bear” had ramped up in Canada, thanks to a local reporter and the actor’s $5,000 “no questions asked” pledge to whoever returned the cuddly teddy. After four days, Mara Soriano, 28, was reunited with the plush keepsake, which is said to be in “perfect condition.”
“She’s home,” Soriano told the CBC late Tuesday at the rendezvous point. “I didn’t think she would come back, but she did.”
Soriano said she checked countless alleys and dumpsters in Vancouver’s West End. However, it wasn’t until she received an email from a stranger claiming to have information regarding the disappearance that she began holding hope for the bear’s safe return.
“Of course, I jumped on it, because it was a lead,” she said.
“I called [CBC News reporter] Deborah Goble because she was the person who broke the story, and I couldn’t have done this without her, so I wanted her to be there, too. Plus, she’s a grown-up, and I wanted to make sure everybody was safe.”
“They brought the bear over to CBC, which was a safe meeting place … and we did it.”
Soriano said she had placed the backpack containing the bear down while she went to tend to a friend who called her explaining he had been struck by a van while cycling over to assist Soriano and her fiancé with their apartment move.
It was in that moment that Soriano said she forgot where she placed the bag and it was picked up, along with an iPad, blank checkbook, Soriano’s green card as well as the passports and social insurance cards of her and her fiancé’s.
“It’s a reminder of home,” she said. “The bear has a message in it in Filipino. It says ‘I love you,’ but in our language. So it’s very specific and very unique.”
Surveillance video nearby would capture a man intercepting the bag as he walked passed it.
“They liberated her,” Soriano said of the bear, which was returned by two men who didn’t want to be identified by the outlet.
Soriano said she also gave the men a small amount of her own money as “collateral” until Reynolds’ pledge came through. TV host George Stroumboulopoulos, another Canadian, said he would also match the amount.
According to Soriano, she had her late mother’s voice recorded and placed into the bear after her mother went into hospice care for cancer treatment.
Ryan Reynolds, Canadian actor and film producer poses for photo during an interview conducted by the Yomiuri Shimbun in Tokyo on May 30, 2018. Reynolds was selected in People’s Sexiest Man Alive lists in 2008 and 2009, and was awarded the top honor in 2010. ( The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images )
“At hospice her voice was different. Much softer. Not the mom I grew up with,” she told CBC. “That bear is the last memory I have of her speaking in her normal voice. She said that she loved me and she was proud of me and that she’ll always be with me.”
Soriano’s mom died of cancer in June 2019.
Fox News’ Naledi Ushe contributed to this report.