The Camera Sleuth

How one man found the owner of a camera he found in a riverbed, using the images as clues.
3:00 | 09/07/12

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Transcript for The Camera Sleuth
You're never alone this -- wrestling. -- -- -- More rural. -- secrets does a falling camera. When by chance. It vanishes into a rushing stream. What whirlpool of images and memories are now lost for -- Behind our story this is the man whose remarkable journey will lancet they saw something that -- in Iraq or stick snake thing. Pick it up. During this past fourth of July weekend John -- of the camping -- deep into the Adirondack Mountains. Rock strewn stream he spotted an old camera it was under about almost a foot -- -- side. This is John. But even junk yards and -- live with stores might -- battered and drenched camera be the same. On a whim he takes it home and pries open the memory cards lawn we put this card in the computer. And what comes out. These pictures I kind of 580. People from landscapes flowers a common good as that might presiding any of our cameras. Certainly of no importance to job. But then. He saw this. This picture just something about it said. I'm bill. Please please get me back to my. My family. John's own grandmother had recently died of the last relative -- family to be photographed with a threat to be her final -- Convinced this picture may be equally important he's determined now define the cameras owner but -- -- combining old school detective work with newfangled technology he begins his search. One of the first images he -- -- of masons in New York City. He pins. Dropping ten first photo of reporters -- There assuming the camera owner even lives in or around New York he only has a few million more places and people to track down. But he figures the key to the puzzle might lie was this picture. A young woman in front of -- house numbered 327. -- frankly 27 from ago I find the girl. I returned to camp. That's flat that's the plan. Easier said than done. For weeks he scours the images spending hours online searching for clues for instance he sees this warehouse with graffiti written across the top. So I types that phrase into. Into Google and follow up comes pictures of this block third street in Park Slope Brooklyn. He decides to stroll -- few blocks in the neighborhoods using Google Earth looking for a house numbered 327. Put out a few blocks eventually outcome to -- three point seven. Every 300 block key roles down ends the same way how many dead ends and thinking here. Lots. But -- he learns digital images have time stamps indebted. So now he knows the woman in front of 327. Proposed for this picture only seconds later. And over her shoulder he sees an intersection with some unique features these unusual windows green neon lettering. Any tiny third avenue side. So he starts a painstaking digital drive down mile after mile of third avenue. Looking for that corner I -- in this spot him look like look at that screen letter. -- I think a little closer look at it two stories this kind of rounded windows on. I'm still -- of third avenue. If that's the building that it has to be down -- -- -- -- Sure enough up quick left turn and look yes. 32780. Street bay ridge Brooklyn. Turns out the mystery woman grew up here but the camera's not hurts so you don't just didn't. It's her Brothers Michael call it. -- of the cameras original secret. I was kept ringing Adirondacks. And I was taking pictures on top of -- little bridge that was a problem -- And somehow I guess -- just bubbled out of my hands and it felt like it was slow motion could have sworn in tablet morning and -- Michael searched and searched without -- and every so often I would wonder what happened -- camera but I just kind of thought of -- just like floating around somewhere and. Of course it was for three years until. Very very bright -- -- -- job. Just started a month ago and now thanks to John-Michael. Records himself opening a very special delivery. Photograph literary theory but his excitement is tempered by a surprising. Feeling it's hard for him to look at the pictures this whole period where most of these pictures preparing they -- -- really really bad time -- life. So these pictures. Bring back that wave of dark. -- Especially the one that inspired John search. She was Michael's mom and she died six months after this picture was taken but Michael's first reaction to the pictures was not -- last. In some -- I think it's kind of like. A consummate gift. Photographs he realized our freeze frames of times even hard times that can eventually mount. It makes me happy to know that somebody starter to last forever you know I can up your side. From a wooden bridge in the forest should they -- in the city. Out of the Adirondacks and 256. Miles -- -- -- -- New York stay down into the city. A most unusual journey compliments of a stranger. A camera and a little help from the U members.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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