SPOKANE, Wash. -- On Sunday night, we told you about an elderly woman searching for the family pictured in photo albums found near a dumpster. She told us it was the "last thing on her bucket list." Within minutes of our story airing, the hunt was over.
"I've been deteriorating since January," Lonnie Smiley said. "It's not going to get any better. My brain gets rattled."
Lonnie says to her, every day feels like a gift. But she struggles to fully enjoy that because she has a mission that feels like a long shot.
"Someone is missing these pictures," she said.
A friend found three photo albums near a North Spokane dumpster a few years back.Lonnie offered to take them and search for the owner.
"With my issues, I hadn't pursued it," she said. "I don't have a computer or anything. It bothers me. Hayley is the only one I can turn to to find who they belong to."
Lonnie fears time isn't on her side, but Hayley told her, she was. Within minutes of Hayley's story airing, we had found the family.
Sammie (Young) Fletcher and her brother Don saw themselves in the piece.
"I was like, that's us," she said. "Amazing. It was just amazing."
Sammie says they had wondered about the albums, especially after their mother and brother had passed.
"I have searched many times thinking there has to be one more box I haven't gone through," she said. "How they ended up where they did, we don't know."
All that matters is that because of the dedication of a stranger, precious mementos of the dear loved who have gone before them, are now back where they belong.
"She's an angel," Don said.
Sammie and Don are left so grateful, but Lonnie says she feels like she's the one who got the gift.
"That was on my bucket list now I can die in peace with a peaceful heart," she said.
One of Sammie's cousins was also pictured in the albums numerous times. He said he will stop by KHQ this week to collect his album.