Wisconsin couple hoping for return of missing wedding photos

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MADISON (WKOW) — A Madison area photographer is pleading with the public to help her find missing wedding photos.

Milwaukee newlyweds Alex and Chelsy Holat faced heartbreaking news after the happiest day of their lives.

“My heart just sank. It’s like that pit in your stomach where you feel really helpless,” Chelsy told 27 News.

On Sunday, their photographer called to tell them the photos taken at their wedding Friday in Milwaukee were gone.

“Just right away, I didn’t want to believe it, but just right away thinking about all the things we can possibly do to try to get these back,” Alex said. “Just because they mean so much to us. And we know we have so many memories there that we want to share forever.”

Erika Diaz said her bag of camera gear is missing, after she dropped off a rental car she used the day of the wedding at the Enterprise location on Odana Road.

The wedding venue shared surveillance photos with Diaz, showing she and her assistant left Milwaukee with the bag, so she thinks she left the gear in the trunk of the rental car. She went back to the rental company and they didn’t have it.

“Nobody’s seen anything. And the bag just disappeared. It’s nowhere to be found at this point,” Diaz said.

A Madison police spokesperson tells 27 News they visited the rental company to investigate. The manager told officers their worker found nothing in the rental car. There are no cameras on-site, so police say they don’t have anywhere to go with the case.

27 News reached out to Enterprise for comment on the missing gear. The management is investigating what might have happened and is looking to see if any neighboring businesses have surveillance images that may have shown the vehicle in the parking lot, according to an Enterprise spokesperson.

It’s devastating news for Diaz too, who lost not only her work and her clients’ memories but also professional camera gear worth $15,000.

“It’s my livelihood. This is what I do. It’s not a hobby. This is what I’ve worked for so hard,” she told 27 News. “I’m going to have to figure out what to do. I have a wedding next weekend, probably going to have to rent because I’m going to show up for my clients. That’s what I do.”

Diaz is now focused on getting the photos back for her customers. She’s working now to edit some images her assistant captured during the wedding.

Meanwhile, the Holats have set up a P.O. box, hoping for the anonymous return of their memories.

“We just hope that somebody that knows something heard about it and has a little bit of compassion to know that we can’t relive this day,” Chelsy said.

They’re asking for the camera memory cards to be mailed to them. They say they’re already putting their vows to the test, staying positive through their first adversity as a married couple.

“It’s challenging, but I think this is a sign of a good marriage to come because I think we’re both dealing with it well and it’s tough, but doing everything we can to make sure everything turns out all right,” said Alex.

Diaz has shared serial numbers for her camera gear with police, so if anyone tries selling the cameras or lenses, they’ll be flagged. She’s also regularly checking websites and apps for any signs of her equipment.

The couple is hoping for the safe return of eight memory cards full of their wedding photos. There were six inside a small case and a memory card in each of the two cameras inside.

The cards can be mailed to this address:
P.O. Box 044105
Racine, WI 53404

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