Left on the Doorstep: Mystery Photos


VIRGINIA BEACH, Va (WAVY) — Photographs carry emotional power that can fuel sentiment — or create duress.  

They are place cards in your family’s history, which document precious moments, and sometimes, raise disturbing questions. The life of a woman from Virginia Beach hasn’t been the same since she received a set of pictures from a different time. 

“It’s just a mystery,” Christine Dresser said from her sofa in her Green Run home.

It’s a mystery that opens with an examination of treasured images documenting one man’s membership in what we call the Greatest Generation.

Dresser showed several photos of her father Emile Cormier, a Navy fireman during World War II.  He served aboard the USS Gratia which was stationed in the Philippines. The photos spread out on Dresser’s coffee table, from 1944 through the early 2000’s provide quite the composite of the family patriarch.  

But that composite was apparently incomplete.

It began Christmas Eve.

“We were visiting my daughters house,” Dresser said in a low voice. Her tone reflects the uneasy feeling that’s been plaguing her since that day.   

“We left about 1:30 and came back about 6:45. I saw these pictures that were balanced underneath the deadbolt and the doorknob, and I looked that them, and I thought these are my father. Who would put these here?”

Three photos from 1944, that Christine Dresser had never seen, were left without a note.

She said no one else would have these photos.  

Emile Cormier passed away in 2013, so it couldn’t be one of his practical jokes for which he was known.

What about somebody from Manila, where Christine’s father was stationed more than 70 years ago?

“He was a ladies man, had a roving eye, and ha ha. I wouldn’t put it past him,” she said.

Is there someone else in his life that he kept secret from family?

“There could be. There could be. If there was a new relative, I would really want to know that and to meet them,” she said.

It’s a possibility that’s haunted Christine. Since receiving these pictures, she’s scoured geneology sites — like Ancestry.com — and 900 people share her DNA, but no half brothers or sisters. 

“I had dreams about it. Like who was this person? Am I ever going to see this person? I would love to hear from them, and find out if I do have a relative. He would want me to find out who this person is. I know he would.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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