Decades-old family photos discovered on undeveloped film inside camera at Fort Collins Goodwill

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FORT COLLINS, Colo. (KDVR) — A $4 purchase at a Fort Collins Goodwill store has uncovered a mystery. 

About two weeks ago, Arden Smithpeter visited Goodwill in Fort Collins in search of vintage cameras. 

“I’m starting to get into photography and I find that I like how the film cameras turn out better and it’s always fun to not know what’s going to be on it and then get it developed,” Smithpeter said. 

She found a 1985 Minolta camera for sale and purchased it for $4. The camera still had a roll of film inside. 

“It was at Goodwill. I’m sure someone opened up the back of the camera and the film would still be rolled. So I was like, none of the pictures are going to come out,” she said. 

Smithpeter decided to get the film developed at a local Walmart. She was able to get 19 photos from the roll.

“I was so happy and surprised about it because I was like, ‘Oh my god, I can get these pictures back to someone,'” she said. 

The photos appear show a family celebrating a young girl’s first communion in a Catholic church. There are candid photos, posed shots and scenes of the ceremony inside the church. 

The photos are most likely from the late 1980s or early ’90s. 

“That’s what I love about thrifting is, it’s like everything has a story about it and everything has a history to it,” Smithpeter said. 

She is hoping someone will recognize the family in the photos so she can get them back to where they belong. She says she is also happy to give them back the camera if they want it. 

“Four bucks. So I think that’s a pretty good deal on finding someone’s family history,” Smithpeter said. 

If you think you recognize the family in the photos, send an email to

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