By Scott Wilson
Sharon Ilstrup was paddle-boarding on Lake Sammamish in Issaquah, Wash., last week when she noticed a glimmering object buried in the mud below the water. After realizing the object was a waterproof camera in working condition, Sharon posted the photos on the camera to Facebook in hopes of contacting the owner.
“I looked through all the photos. They were really sweet. I could tell there was a birthday celebration going on,” Ilstrup told ABCNews. “All these first-time events were on this camera sitting at the bottom of the lake. I thought, I have kids, I have to get this back to [the camera's owners].”
According to Ilstrup, she did not receive a single response, despite the photos being shared on Facebook over 100 times.
“I was surprised that nobody contacted me,” Ilstrup said.
However, Ilstrup did get a phone call from ABC’s Seattle-based affiliate KOMO, which offered to air the story on their Tuesday evening newscast.
Minutes after the story aired, the camera’s owner, Theo Graves, having seen the pictures of her family on TV, called KOMO.
KOMO then connected Sharon Ilstrup with the owner’s son-in-law Luke Dunivan. Ilstrup was finally able to return the camera.
Dunivan was in several of the pictures taken by his mother-in-law that day at the lake, as the family was celebrating his wife’s birthday.
“They are pictures of my wife’s birthday party. We were having a picnic at the lake,” Dunivan said. “My father-in-law was trying paddle-boarding for the first time when the camera fell into the water.”
It was not until Sharon Ilstrup, a paddle-board instructor herself, noticed the camera days later, that there was any chance the photos would be returned.
“This was great. It was fun to see ourselves on TV, and Sharon was very positive about everything. She went a little further than most people would in that situation,” Dunivan said. “We’re definitely happy to have the camera back.”