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Laptop with late mother's video messages to 4-year-old daughter returned one month later

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One month later, the laptop holding late mother's video messages to 4-year-old daughter has been returned. (Photo credit: Amanda Chodnicki)

There's nothing like hearing your mother's voice, and for a 4-year-old girl in mid-Michigan, that voice was stolen from her.

But more than a month later, that precious gift has been returned.

Ten months ago, mother Dawn Kristof lost her battle with pancreatic cancer.

She knew she was terminally ill, but she also knew she wanted her little girl to get to know her and to hear her voice.

Dawn resorted to making hours and hours of videos for her daughter Ellie before she was out of time.

Just one month ago, the laptop that housed those videos was stolen and this Thursday it was finally returned.

"I had 100 percent given up on it," Wally Kristof, Ellie's father, said. "And then I got a strange phone call."

But that strange phone call led him to the laptop, which still held all of the videos on it from Dawn.

Wally said it was the happiest ending he could give to his Ellie.

"She made the videos for you, and we got them back today," Wally told Ellie. "Remember when daddy's laptop was stolen?"

For $500 Wally got the laptop back, but to him, it meant Ellie got a part of her mom back.

"And they're hard to watch," he said. "But it's nice to see her and hear her... her voice is something I can't relate to her in stories."

Now, they have four hours worth of video at her fingertips, full of songs, artwork and personal messages from Dawn to Ellie.

"You're my superhero," Dawn said to Ellie in one of the recorded messages. "I think you are the reason that I was put here... I do. I think I was brought here, so the world could enjoy you."

Even though Dawn said in her videos that she had so much more to show and teach her little girl, Wally said he knows Dawn would be happy that Ellie wouldn't just know how much she loved her but be able to hear it in her voice.

"Maybe she had a hand in it," he said. "Maybe the very least... changing somebody's heart to want to do it... she definitely had that ability."

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