Parents asking for return of stolen memories of late son after electronic devices taken in burglary

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A couple in St. Mary's County is making a desperate plea for help after someone broke into their home and stole their laptops and iPads over the weekend. But what the thieves may not have known was that those devices held precious pictures of their late son.

Angelica and John Ballard said the robbery took place Sunday at their home in Leonardtown.

"I had been home for about ten minutes walking through the rest of the house before I finally got to the living room and saw that DVDs and CDs and clothes had been thrown all over the floor, trying to root through whatever had been in the living room at the time," John said.

Their 13-year-old son Hugo, who passed away in March, was very interested in space exploration and astronomy.

"We don't really care about the devices themselves," said Hugo's mother, Angelica. "What we want are the files. We have Hugo's iPad, which he had his videos, his pictures, all of the websites he likes to visit to see about science, and those are things that we did not back up. I didn't want to touch his iPad. I wanted it to remain [intact the way he left it]."

One of the devices contained a Facebook account that belonged to Hugo. According to his mother, she said she heard from the thieves through the social media account.

"All of a sudden, I got a message - it said it was from Hugo, and it said I am trying to contact the previous owners of this iPad," said Angelica. "And I begged them. I said, 'Please, this is one of the last things that I have of his and please give it back. No questions asked. There is a reward. We will pay you. We just want our memories back.' And I didn't hear back from them."

The St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office said they have started an investigation. Anyone with information about this case is asked to call Crime Solvers at 301-475-3333. You can also send tips by text message to #TIP239. There is a $1,000 reward being offered.