A home de-cluttering in White Rock turned up old memorabilia, leading Facebook-users down a city-wide hunt to find its rightful owners.
While working with a client, Joanne Berndt, who runs a de-clutter and downsizing business, found something unexpected.
“We were doing one of the last areas and it was a crawl-space and something was tucked way in the back in a corner in a box and I opened it and saw photographs and 8-mm movies,” she said.
The owner of the home had no idea who the photos belonged to, inspiring Berndt to find the rightful owners so their film could be returned back to them.
Berndt took photos of the found items and posted them on several community-pages across Facebook on Thursday, June 9. And while only radio silence was found on pages in Vancouver and around the Fraser Valley, South Surrey/White Rock Facebook pages were ablaze with activity.
“There was a luggage tag in there as well with a name on it which sort of led us on a path to finding the family of J. McHutchison,” Berndt said.
One user would make a comment, leading someone else to remember another person who could fill another piece of the puzzle, and so began the domino effect.
Are the nameless-individuals someone’s old high school classmate, a previous neighbour, possibly an old drinking buddy or a distant relative?
An obituary with the last name was explored, but also came up blank. Berndt reached out to the family members listed and the users who had posted their condolences to no avail.
Ever-changing technology has not been kind to this investigation either. One lead turned up a person named James McHutchison with a phone number listed online. Calling it, however, only brought disappointment as the phone number belongs to a clothing store now.
Whether the mysterious people even live in the province or the country is still unknown.
One woman reached out to Berndt claiming to be the sister of the woman pictured in one of the portraits. Excited, Berndt immediately responded asking for contact information to send their belongings, but has not heard back since.
Another possible identity resides in a place down-under.
“I have found a Linda McHutchison in Perth, Australia who has a profile picture that looks like the woman in the photo,” Berndt said.
She reached out to Linda and the company listed on her Facebook profile, but is still waiting to for a response.
After the dismissal of several leads, non-responses and 50 online comments over the span of 11 days, the married-couple and single woman featured in the found items remain a mystery.
Anyone who may know the identities of anyone pictured is invited to send a private message to Joanne Berndt through Facebook at www.facebook.com/joanne.berndt.