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Thief returns stolen photos of newborn's final moments

Monica Beyer is a mom of four and has been writing professionally since 2000, when her first book, Baby Talk, was published. Her main area of interest is attachment parenting and all that goes with it, including breastfeeding, co-sleepin...

Stolen photos of dying baby will be returned to grieving mother

A thief stole a camera that had a baby's first — and last — moments tucked away on its memory card, but after the baby's mother sent out a plea for their return, the memory card was returned.

April McLean's little boy, a baby she named Amari, was born earlier this month, and he died just 30 minutes later. As many bereaved parents do, she contacted a professional photographer through Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep (NILMDTS). Faith Massey answered the call, and she gently and sensitively captured as much of his short life as she could on camera. She was able to photograph him with his family members, getting a bath, and capture images of his tiny, gorgeous face. The next day, however, someone broke into Massey's garage and stole her camera — which still had all of Amari's photos on the memory card.

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These photos are priceless. There will be no more opportunities to photograph little Amari, and the only other photo McLean has of her boy is a cellphone photo. When she heard of the theft, she was overwhelmed with grief all over again. "To find out that the camera has been stolen with the memory card full of the last moments with my baby broke my heart," she told WBTV after it happened. "I've cried till I can't cry anymore."

Massey and McLean contacted the media to share the grieving mother's message in hopes that the heartbreaking story would reach the ears of the one who snatched the camera. And thankfully, that is exactly what happened.

Massey reports that she was contacted by a partner of their local news company, who told her that the memory card — with the precious photos still on board — was mailed to the station and will soon be reunited with the photographer, who can't wait to share them with his mother.

When the camera was stolen, there was very little chance the thief knew about the irreplaceable images on its memory card. It's amazing that he or she had enough of a heart to pop the card out and mail it to where it would get back to its owner (although it's really too bad they hadn't included the camera, which was likely a quality, expensive model).

These services (free through NILMDTS) are a beautiful gift that do become treasured mementos of a life that, while short, was fiercely loved. It's wonderful the memory card was returned.

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