'Those photos were forgotten - then all of a sudden, here they are'

'Those photos were forgotten - then all of a sudden, here they are'
Jeff and Johanna Richards lost their camera loaded with honeymoon photos in September 2010. They thought they were gone for good - until social media turned a a beachcomber's chance discovery into a mystery to be solved.

CHARLESTON, Ore. - Jeff and Johanna Richards took their honeymoon on the Oregon Coast in September 2010 with their infant daughter Melina.

As they crept along the rocks at Sunset Bay at low tide, a sneaker wave pulled Johanna into the water.

After the wave retreated, Jeff helped his wife out of the sand and back onto dry land.

Only then did they realize that the digital camera with all of their trip pictures was lost in the ocean, too.


Travis Silver approached KCBY-TV in Coos Bay with a story idea in May 2014.

He'd found a digital camera in the water near Sunset Bay. The camera was a goner, but the memory card still contained photos of a smiling couple and a cute kid.

Could KCBY-TV find the couple and reunite them with their photos?

KCBY-TV aired a few of the photos and posted some of the pictures online.

The search for the smiling couple took off like wildfire: a post on the Facebook page of sister station KVAL in Eugene reached almost a half million people in a matter of days.

One of them was Jeff Richards' mom.

Melina is now 4, and the Richards live in the City of Talent in Southern Oregon.

"I came home from work one day and my wife was excited that she had found the pictures she had lost in the ocean," Richards said. "I'm like what?"

You might call it a belated wedding gift from the South Coast to some fellow Oregonians.

"We definitely appreciate whoever it was who found the pictures and took the time and initiative to retrieve them from the corroded and salted camera," Richards said. "Some of the good memories that were on those photos were forgotten for a little while  - then all of a sudden, here they are."