Picture-perfect ending to missing photos

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PHOENIX -- A Valley photographer made a big promise to 3 On Your Side. Did he live up to that promise?


The promise was to deliver some very important pictures.

The photos were from a big birthday party -- moments that were captured on film and moments a person can never get back.

That's why Esperanza Mata hired a professional photographer to begin with.

The emotion Mata feels today is happiness and relief.

"I was so elated and as though a dark cloud has been lifted when I finally had my hands on our pictures," she said.

It was a much different story when 3 On Your Side first spoke with Mata a month ago.

Mata was upset after paying Johnny Lozoya and his company, Super Events Photography, $450 to photograph and videotape her mother's big birthday party.

But nearly a year later all she had were a few snapshots and some video taken by family members.

She says Lozoya never did deliver any photos from the party and she says he seemed to have vanished.

So 3 On Your Side caught up with Lozoya.

He eventually remembered being paid to take pictures and he did show up to the event, but he really didn't have a good reason for not developing and delivering the photos.

Mata says she's tried countless times contacting Lozoya but says he never calls her back.

However, that all changed after Lozoya ran into 3 On Your Side.

In fact, after our chat, he delivered the photos to Mata.

"It brings back such wonderful, pleasant memories because the pictures tell the story, the happiness, the moment that we were celebrating and that was all for my mom," Mata said.

Memories Mata said may have been lost if 3 On Your Side hadn't stepped in.

"I really had accepted that there were no pictures, that we were probably never going to see any pictures, but now thanks to Channel 3 I can't compliment Channel 3 enough for making this possible," Mata said.

Mata says she's learned a lesson: Never pay the entire amount up front and in advance. If you do, there is no incentive for the person you hired to do a good job or deliver the goods.