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Stolen Photos of North Carolina Newborn's Last Moments Are Returned

A photographer whose equipment, including a memory card, was stolen got a big surprise when precious baby photos turned up at a local news station.

April McLean knew before she delivered her baby son, Amari, that he would be too sick to survive. So she had a photographer take pictures of the few precious moments they had together.

The child lived 30 minutes. Before the photographer could edit the pictures, the camera and the memory card were stolen from her car.

The theft last month drew news coverage. But two weeks later, an envelope was mailed to a news station in Charlotte, North Carolina. There was no note, but inside was the memory card, and on it were photos: Amari being held by his father. Amari being held by his mother. Amari’s footprint records.

“It’s really just my last opportunity for that family, to give them something to hold on to for their baby,” the photographer, Faith Massey, told NBC affiliate WCNC on Wednesday. “I mean, they didn’t get to take him home from the hospital. They had to bury him.”

She is editing the photos to give them to McLean. The young mother said in a statement to the station: “To see images we never got to see of Amari will be very heart touching.”

Massey works with a group called Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, which says its mission is to provide, for free, “remembrance photography to parents suffering the loss of a baby.”

A crowdfunding page has been set up to buy Massey new equipment. She posted news of the returned photos on her Facebook page and thanked God. “My equipment has not been found but so glad the most important part has been!” she wrote.


— Erin McClam