Erica and Dave Lacey met as co-workers and friends. Ultimately, they became engaged and were looking forward to a long and happy life with each other. But nobody could have imagined what was waiting around the corner for them, certainly not Dave and Erica.
Erica began having chest pains, and they became a regular occurrence during the time the couple was engaged. So Erica went to the doctor to get it checked out. It was not good news, not good news at all.
A CT scan revealed that Erica had two tumors, one behind her diaphragm and the other near her heart. Just days before her wedding, the official diagnosis came in. She had a rare form of lymphoma.
Chemo began immediately, and doctors advised her to cancel the wedding. Not a chance! The only concern Erica had was if the bandages that now covered her body would affect her wedding photos.
The diagnosis was a stunner, but that gave Erica and Dave a new appreciation for life. They filled their marriage with happiness and gratitude. Two years later, Erica passed away.
While still married, Erica had grown fond of photography. She had a genuine interest, but her new hobby was also a way that she could document the happy moments of her precious life.
She loved taking pictures everywhere she went. It was rare to see her out and about without a camera attached to her somewhere.
Her funeral was filled with her photos.
At her funeral, pictures she had taken, more than 300 of them, were on display.
A year later, Dave was heartbroken to find his wife’s camera was missing, after his house had been robbed. It had meant so much to him because it meant so much to her.
“She was my best friend,” Lacey told CNN in an emotional interview. “She was the woman I loved. “
Dave never thought he would see the camera again. The last photos Erica had taken were still in the camera. They were never backed up or downloaded for safe keeping.
Detectives Paul McClaskey and Jerry Verdugo, were assigned to the case, and they finally found the thieves a year later, along with lots of stolen items and receipts. The receipts led to a pawn shop, where the detectives started asking questions. At first they didn’t find anything useful, however, they soon returned to the shop to look again.
There was a Canon camera in the shop that seemed very similar to the one that was stolen from Dave’s house. However, at first they couldn’t prove it was the same camera.
“There were no serial numbers to trace back to the owner,” Detective Verdugo told CNN in an interview.
But among the photos still in the camera, the detectives recognized a certain beige wall. It was a wall that matched the inside of the young couple’s home.
The evidence was clear, and the detectives were happy to return the camera to its proper owner. They were even more happy to give back the memories preserved in Erica’s photos, which Dave now considers priceless treasures.
Thanks to Detective’s McClaskey and Verdugo, the case is now closed, and the couple has been reunited as best they can be, for now.
Watch the video below: