"Oh my God! No way," exclaimed Kavita Gadhok, her eyes welling with tears.
When WUSA9 Reporter Andrea McCarren and Photojournalist John Mogor delivered her wedding photos and videos, it marked the end of an emotional two and a half year journey for the young bride and her family.
The Gadhoks said they had pleaded with local wedding photographer Christopher Walters of Georgetown Pics to hand over the memories for which they’d paid thousands of dollars.
Only when WUSA9 intervened did Walters release them, with the quiet acknowledgement that he'd been going through "personal issues."
That was in September of this year. After the story aired, something extraordinary happened. We heard from four other couples who said they paid Christopher Walters thousands of dollars to shoot their wedding photos and videos. But like the Gadhoks, they received nothing in return, or an incomplete set of unedited photos and videos.
"I was shocked," said Mark Taylor-Wolfe, describing his reaction to seeing our report. "I wanted to reach through the television and grab him by the throat and choke him. That’s how much I’m irritated with this guy."
Turns out, Mark hired Chris Walters 10 years ago, when he married the love of his life in 2007.
Mark said he and his bride Cynthia never received all the materials they were promised. But they did get a lot of excuses from the wedding photographer.
Mark even checked Chris’ Facebook page and was outraged by what he said he saw.
"He was enjoying a family trip to the Bahamas. And all these pictures of him frolicking in the son with his kids and his wife," he said.
For years, Mark and Cynthia called and emailed, pleading for all their wedding memories. Mark said they never got a response.
And then, in 2015, Cynthia died unexpectedly of a seizure. She passed away without ever seeing video of the liturgical dance she and Mark performed on the altar. Or photos of her relatives from around the world who came to witness one of the happiest days of her life.
"She was a spectacular lady. I miss her, but I’ll always love her," said Mark.
In her memory, he asked WUSA9 to try to retrieve all their photos and videos.
So we returned to the wedding photographer's home in Prince George’s County. There was no answer.
We called his cell phone, and landed in voice mail. We left a message.
And again, we called his wife.
Two hours later, he called us back.
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Chris Walters declined our request for an on-camera interview, but did send an email.
He wrote “I’m deeply sorry to hear of Cyndy’s passing.”
He said he delivered everything but a photo album to the couple’s home. That’s a claim Mark calls “unreliable and incorrect.”
Court records indicate Walters owes $74,000 to the IRS and has filed for bankruptcy three times. He acknowledged that he is still in the wedding photography business in our area.