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Grieving Marion couple pleads for the return of lost cell phone

Leslie and Jason Bright are grieving the loss of their 11-year-old daughter, Hannah. What the couple hopes for most is that whoever who took the phone Jason accidentally left at Murphy Gas station in Marion returns it. The phone has hundreds of pictures and videos of Hannah. (Photo credit: Leslie Bright)

UPDATE (Dec. 21, 2017): The Bright's phone, along with hundreds of photos of their late 11-year-old daughter, has been returned after News 13 aired this story.

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Leslie and Jason Bright are grieving the loss of their 11-year-old daughter, Hannah. She was their first-born, a fighter who loved openly and never met a stranger.

Hannah was born with a serious brain syndrome called Septo-optic dysplasia that robbed her of her sight. The couple said Hannah had endured close calls and medical emergencies before, but on Nov. 21 it clearly was more serious.

“She, and I, and her sisters, went on a field trip that day, and she was not feeling well with a basic cold,” Leslie said. “She just gradually started getting worse the entire night. By 4 a.m. the next morning, we got her up to take her to the ER (at Mission), and things just progressed so quickly, that by six o’clock she went into cardiac arrest.”

“The team did so great,” Jason said. “Everybody was just working together. In the past, seems like she always was able to pull through. But this time, it was just her time.”

Jason works full-time for the city of Marion in public works for streets, but he also pastors at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church, where the congregation is supporting the couple in their darkest time. The church sign reads “We are praying for the Brights.”

What the couple hopes for most is that whoever who took the phone Jason accidentally left at Murphy Gas station in Marion returns it. The phone has hundreds of pictures and videos of Hannah. The treasured images cannot be accessed through any iPhone service unless they get the phone returned.

“We have no interest in criminal charges or anything like that,” Leslie said.

The couple has other photos of Hannah and her two sisters, but the photos from the past two years are all on Jason’s missing phone.

Jason said Leslie recently got Hannah an electric toothbrush, and there is a video on his phone of her playing with it.

“She just loved it, giggling and having so much fun,” Jason said. “They can have the phone, if I could just get the pictures and videos and things.”

The couple also has hundreds of contacts on the phone from their church ministry work. This, too, has caused them sadness because they have so many friends they’ve met through fellowship from Florida to Maine.

The Marion Police Department has posted surveillance images of a woman and the white SUV she was in. The police wrote on Facebook there was a man with the woman who may have the phone. Authorities ask anyone with information to contact them or simply bring in the phone or mail it to the Marion Police Department.

“There are all kinds of ways they could return the phone. And they can’t use the phone anyway because there is a code on it and it won’t unlock,” Leslie said. “They can leave it at our house or simply leave it somewhere we could just get it back for these pictures of our daughter. We hope someone will help us.”

As they grieve for their daughter’s passing, the Brights' Christmas wish is to get back those precious photos and videos of their daughter.

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