Geraldine Magda sat next to the nursing home bed of her dying sister and held her left hand.
Later that day, police in Austin, Minn., found the dead woman's wedding ring in Magda's purse, and now Magda finds herself charged with two felonies.
Magda, 44, of Mapleview, Minn., was charged Wednesday with two felonies: theft and possession of stolen property.
According to police, Magda visited Mary Ulwelling, 58, at the ComforCare Nursing Home in Austin on New Year's Day, where her terminally ill sister only had a few hours to live.
Other relatives were present and noticed that Ulwelling's gold wedding ring with diamonds, valued at $2,500, was missing after Magda had visited.
Questioned by police, Magda said she sat next to her sister's bed and held the dying woman's left hand but denied taking the ring.
With Magda's consent, police searched her purse and found the ring in a prescription pill container. Magda said she didn't know how the ring got there.
Relatives told police that Magda has previously stolen jewelry from family members.
Mary and Paul Ulwelling were married in Las Vegas in the summer of 1999.