The widow of a U.S. Marine recently received the surprise of a lifetime when she was able to recover a phone containing photos of her late husband that she thought she had lost.
Haley Johnson’s husband Sgt. Mark Johnson died in a helicopter crash during a mission to assist victims of the Nepal earthquake in May, ABC News reported. He died along with five other Marines in the crash.
Haley was heartbroken when she lost her iPhone 6 containing photos and videos of her husband.
“My heart sank,” Johnson told ABC affiliate KGTV (video below). “My son asks to see photos and videos of his late father at night before bed, and we’ve used this phone to get through this time.”
According to Johnson’s mother-in-law, Eva Curtis, she was at a convenience store in Camp Pendleton when her phone disappeared.
“When she turned around from her cart either someone snatched it or she may have put it on the counter whens he was checking out,” the mother-in-law said. “We used an app to track it right away and it was moving out of the store as we were going back in for it.”
On the phone were the last photos taken of Mark with his two kids before he was deployed last November.
Though some photos were backed up in the phone’s iCloud account, many were lost after her storage became full.
“The [children] need those memories more than anyone,” Curtis said. “Those photos are going to mean so much to them while they’re growing up.”
Johnson and Curtis tracked the phone before it was turned off on Saturday. The phone's last tracked location was Harbor Liquor Store in Oceanside, California.
On Monday night, the owner of the store called Curtis saying that he had the phone.
“I was told a Marine found the phone in a bush outside the store and handed it to [the manager],” Curtis said. “Everything was on there and it’s a big relief for both of us.”
The widow went to pick up the phone on Tuesday and was relieved to find that the photos were still on the device.
”The last text before he crashed read, ‘Well, babe, I’m getting on this bus. I love you and miss you so much,'” Johnson said.
Photo: LiftBump, ABC