Just days before Dave and Erica Lacey got married, Erica was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of lymphoma. She passed away in 2011 at the age of 30.
Dave suddenly went from elated groom to heartbroken widower, holding tight to the hundreds of photos stored on Erica’s beloved camera.
In 2012, burglars raided Dave’s home in Santa Ana, California. His Xbox, expensive jewelry, and electronics were stolen. But most devastatingly, Erica’s camera was gone.
“It just didn’t seem fair, because after all that we went through, to lose those, it was like a punch in the gut,” he told CNN. More than 300 priceless snapshots of Erica and their life together — gone. The camera even had pictures from her funeral. Dave knew he’d never see those photos again.
One year later, an unrelated home burglary took place, and detectives found 20 receipts for items hocked at a local pawn shop, one of which was for a camera. When police visited the pawn shop, they found said camera, turned it on, and searched through the photos. The more they scrolled through the images, the more they realized this camera held a special meaning — especially when they saw photos from a wedding day and a funeral.
The police had no names to connect the camera to its rightful owner, but recognized a certain brown wall and familiar tree in one of the shots. When they pulled up to the neighborhood where they thought the photo was taken, they found and recognized Dave Lacey.
But Dave wasn’t exactly ready to believe what he was about to hear.
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