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Emily Dennis,
More than 160 photos were found on a memory card in a broken camera sold at a thrift store. After a little detective work, the woman in the photos was identified as Emily Dennis. She was happy to see the photos, which were taken during her mission to Toronto, Canada, six years ago.

SALT LAKE CITY — He purchased a broken camera from a thrift store because it came with a few memory cards, which are no longer sold in stores. What he found when he got home was quite a mystery.

Dave Wilkinson, a broadcast designer, purchased a camera at the Savers at 3171 E. 3300 South in Salt Lake City a couple of weeks ago.

“I saw this camera, and I have an older Olympus camera myself that I travel with sometime,” Wilkinson said, “but they don’t make the memory card anymore.” It cost him $2.

When he got home, he found 166 pictures on one of the memory cards. Some of the photos had people singing carols by a city center; others were of a Christmas party. All seemed to feature one woman.

In one of the photos the woman is holding a sign for a Canadian curling team. Wilkinson looked it up on Google and discovered the number was in Toronto, Canada.

In another photo, the woman was wearing a sweater from BYU. That was a clue that she could be from Utah and that the pictures were taken during her LDS mission.

“A mission is a unique time in the life of a young person,” Wilkinson said. “If I had lost this many photos, I would certainly want someone to try and connect them back to me.”

Which is exactly what he did. He enlisted the help of co-worker Lesli Harker, a KSL promotions producer, whose desk is just a few feet away.

“I’m from that part of Canada and I have tons of Facebook friends who lived in Toronto,” Harker said, “and so I posted a few of the pictures on Facebook. Within a week, we found her.”

Her name is Emily Dennis. She snapped the photos about six years ago during her mission in Toronto. Dennis, who is an Orem native, returned to Utah after her mission. A short time later, she took the camera to an activity and broke it.

“I busted the back screen, and I actually couldn’t delete the pictures off the screen because I couldn’t see what I was doing,” she said.

So she donated the camera to a thrift store and never thought about it again, until a few weeks ago.

Harker contacted Dennis through Facebook and told her that she and Wilkinson made a copy of all of the photos for her.

“This is my first time having sushi,” she exclaimed while looking at the photos on the disc. “And see, these are pictures that I don’t have," she said. "This is some dance at my ward.”

Since the memory cards don't hold much data, Dennis said she copied the photos and sent them home, and then kept reusing the card.

“It was a good little camera,” she said.

So the mystery of who was in the photos and where they were taken was solved, but no one knows where the camera has been for the past six years.

“I just bought it this year,” Wilkinson said. "Where has it been for six years? Maybe it was just meant to happen.” 

E-mail: kmccord@ksl.com, vvo-duc@ksl.com