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Inside The Story: Priceless photos, documents found in trash bag

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A Utah family is reunited with their family photos. These are some of the last names in some photo captions Velarde, Maestas, Vigil, and Hopkins.

(KUTV) Years and years of memories and important documents all dumped in a garbage can. But thanks to a good Samaritan those priceless items are back into the hands of the rightful owner.

"Oh my goodness these are old, old," said an emotional Donna Velarde as she sat and looked through the photos that were dumped in the trash. "My mother looks very beautiful in that picture."

The story of where the pictures were found all starts on the day a man showed up at the 2News studios in downtown Salt Lake City carrying a large black bag. He said he found it in a garbage can at a downtown car wash, and figured someone would be missing what's inside.

2News film critic Ryan Painter was working in the news room when he went out to meet the stranger. "The whole bag was filled with photos," said Painter who said the mystery man didn't want to leave his name. "Basically his only concern was that it ended up getting back into the hands of the people they belonged to. It was a selfless act."

The only option to find the family was to post some of the photos on our KUTV website asking viewers if anyone recognized people in the photos. Within a short time the family was found.

RELATED STORY: Help reunite Utah family with lost photos

A few days later Velarde and her husband Shane Peterson showed up at 2News to pick up their prized possession.

"When I got the call from my daughter I just started jumping up and down so happy, and I couldn't wait to see them," said Velarde.

According to Verlarde the photos were lost during a move and somehow thrown out, without her knowledge.

She says the memories are going to mean the most to her mother, who is in bad health, and having a very difficult time dealing with the loss of her husband.

"She's is going to cry because she is still grieving over my father -- we all are," Velarde said.

Velarde is grateful to the person who took the time to bring the photos into the news station when they could have easily just left them in the trash.

"I would just like to tell them thank you. That I'm very grateful that he was such a good Samaritan to bring them in. Not many people would do that," she said. "I'm really happy."

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