Family Finds GoPro at Bottom of Ocean, Starts Campaign to Find Owners

by Matthew Memrick
Photo: Getty Images

A family vacationing in Hawaii found a GoPro camera in the ocean and recently reunited it with its Maryland family.

Houston chaplain Jerry McNamara found the camera on a 35th wedding anniversary trip with his wife, Mary Beth. He went through it, determined to find the family who lost it. After using some detective work, he realized the family could have been in Maryland.

McNamara contacted a TV station, and soon, the Morton family got their beloved camera back with lots of once-lost Hawaii memories.

A Little GoPro Detective Work

McNamara found the camera on July 21 when he was snorkeling at Molokini on the island. July 17 was the last video on the camera.

 “I had six hours of video and pictures on my GoPro — if I had lost that, I would have been absolutely heartbroken so ‘Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.’ I thought, ‘Let’s get these memories back to this family. I think it will mean a lot to them,'” he told WBAL.

He watched a video of the family’s two girls talking about a time change from Maryland. He determined the vacation trip started on July 9. From there, McNamara knew he had to reach out to a TV station there.

McNamara said the girls said many sweet things, like ‘Oh, my sister was so brave today, she swam really far.’ He said those special memories were worth saving and having for a lifetime. 

The chaplain did a few things. First, he contacted GoPro to see if the black Hero-9 camera had been reported missing. No luck. One video had the husband using it during a Maryland Savage Race. McNamara couldn’t see the runner’s bib number to make a connection, however. 

Turning to TV for GoPro Help

Then, McNamara reached out to the TV station for help, the TV station did a report, and soon people were reaching out to the Morton family of Harford County, Md. 

“I would say it was pretty immediate that people recognized either the story on TV or the social media post and just started blowing us up,” Melissa Morton said.

The GoPro camera slipped Lee Morton’s pocket while the family was snorkeling in Maui. When Lee Morton learned of the found camera, he was ecstatic. 

“I just got chills. ‘Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, there’s just no way this is possible,'” Lee Morton told WBAL.

According to the Today Show, the family got its GoPro camera and memory card back. In return for his hunt, the Mortons sent McNamara a multiple shipments of crabcakes.

“We were just overwhelmed,” Melissa Morton.

Melissa Morton said she was amazed that McNamara could dive down that deep to get the camera and work hard enough to get the camera back to her family.