This is a heartbreaker of a story.
The young couple wanted to document each phase of their only son's life. The problem began when they stored all the pictures on a computer hard drive and some of those pictures disappeared.
Only a few photos of Dena and Shannon Morales' 2-year-old son Tristan remain. It's not that the new parents didn't take thousands of photos and videos since the moment he was born. They did.
"His first birthday, we did going to the zoo, taking a bath," Dena recalled.
"Any time between when they're born and one is so dramatic, you want to capture as much as you can," Shannon said.
They recorded Tristan's birth, his first steps and first toys, storing them all on their computer's external hard drive. Then, one day, some pictures were accidentally deleted.
"We were going to send it out to get them recovered and put on a new drive," Shannon said.
The couple shipped the hard drive plus a new empty one to a company that could restore the lost pictures, "Drive Savers" in Novato. Shannon sent the package off by Federal Express. Little did he know it would be the last time they would see those pictures.
"It's just irreplaceable," Dena said. "It's just like, it's pretty traumatic."
The package with their precious photos never arrived to Drive Savers. Frantically, Dena checked the Fedex tracking record. It shows the package went from their local Fedex office, to Federal Express in Oakland, and then to the facility in Petaluma, but the tracking stops there.
"So, my husband called them and Fedex told him that the package was lost," Dena recalled.
"Then I called Drive Savers and they said, 'No, we don't have it either.' Well, where is it then?" Shannon asked.
Fedex searched. Nothing turned up. The couple regretted they'd made just a few prints which they put in frames and a commemorative calendar. They couldn't put a value on the missing photos, but they did file a claim for the $229 value of the hard drives. Fedex however, would only pay $100.
"To add insult to injury, there's a $100 limit of liability," Dena said.
Because the couple did not declare a value before shipping, FedEx would not pay the full amount. That's when Dena called 7 On Your Side. We contacted Federal Express. They could not explain what happened to that package however, they agreed to redouble efforts to find it and pay the full $220 for the hard drives after all.
It said, "We are highly rated for our service reliability and take this missing shipment matter very seriously."
For now, Tristan and his parents are busy making new memories while holding on to the few old memories they have in print.
"Hopefully, there's still some hope we can get it back," Dena said.
The lesson here? Dena and Shannon say from now on, they will make copies upon copies upon copies of their photos and videos, in print, CD's and hard drives. When it comes to shipping, even a tracking system is not a sure thing.