Georgia resident Kristie Baeumert bought a projector at the thrift store last month and unearthed decades-old slides of a glamorous, globe-trotting family. She posted the photos on Facebook and set out on a mission to find the owners, a challenging task given the photos didn't have any names or locations.
The story made headlines nationwide and sent well-meaning strangers combing through the photos for clues, eager to reunite them with their owners.
After Baeumert appeared on television, a family member recognized the photos and called her. The mystery was solved -- but while the photos have been highly publicized, their reunion with the family will be anything but.
"I spoke with a very lovely woman who asked that the photographs be turned over privately with no media attention. I plan to respect her wishes," Baeumert posted on Facebook.
"Many thanks to everyone who came together to find the family and for all of the kind comments," she wrote. "People shared stories with me of their childhoods in military housing and of lost pictures they wish someone could find from their own family."
The women dazzled. So did the children
Baeumert was at the Goodwill store looking for items to add to her vintage camper last month when the Argus 300 Model III slide projector caught her attention.
"The outside of the case looked like a vintage item, so I opened it up to peek," she says. "I actually discovered the slides when the cashier opened the box when I was paying."
When she got home and projected the slides on her wall, she was so fascinated by the family photos, she invited her friends over to look at them. The women in the photos dazzled in gowns and party dresses, minks and pearls. The children dressed formally and alike most times -- even when they played outside or went to the beach.
And the children were loved. One photo has "Perfect Pic, the best of my baby," scribbled on the slide of a little girl standing outside a house.
"The more I looked at them, the more I wanted to know their story," says Baeumert, who lives in Fairburn, Georgia.
The photos left her with many questions. Who are the people? What did they do? And most importantly, how can she find them and return their pictures?
"These pictures are part of their family's story," she says. "They should have these memories to pass down and tell their story."
Subtle clues in the photos
The slides weren't marked with names or locations, but there were some subtle clues, including the word "Kansas" on the box.
An automotive expert who looked at the cars in the photos told CNN the makes and models were from the mid-to-late 1950s.
The photos also appeared to point to a military family, with a picture of a long plane with the words "Wake Island" inscribed on one slide. The tiny island in the Pacific Ocean is mostly home to the military and contractors, and is known for its role in World War II and a namesake 1942 film.
Adding to the mystery, North Georgia's Goodwill has 60 stores and almost as many donation centers, making finding whoever donated the projector nearly impossible.
But as Baeumert says, the internet is a magical place. Well, sometimes.