The girlfriend of one of the Oakland warehouse fire victims is searching for a photographer who took a photo of the couple while they were vacationing in New York.
Saya Tomoika, whose boyfriend Griffin Madden, 23, was at the so-called Ghost Ship warehouse when a deadly fire broke out, posted on her Facebook page asking the public to help her find a photograph of the couple’s 2015 trip to Times Square.
Madden, who graduated from UC Berkeley along with Tomoika, was one of 36 people who died in the fire, officials confirmed on Tuesday evening.
“This morning, I remembered the first time I went to Times Square, June of 2015,” she writes in the post. “…I remember tears swelling in my eyes because the city was so beautiful, and, amidst all the lights, I got to look at the brightest light of all, my sweetie.”
She recounts a photographer happening upon the couple while they were embracing and taking a picture.
“I never got his name, and he just simply showed us the single beautiful snap shot that he was able to capture.”
Earlier in the day, the young couple had gone to see the Book of Mormon on Broadway and traversed across the city, spending a special day together. In her Facebook post, which can be seen below, Tamoika included a different picture of them holding one of the theater's infamous Playbills, in hopes that the photographer may recognize having snapped their picture.
“I’ve always longed to find this particular photograph and thank the photographer,” she wrote. “Friends, possibly with your help, I can be reunited with this photograph, a treasured memory that I’ll always keep in my heart.”
She acknowledged that finding it would be a “miracle,” but wrote it would be something to lift her spirits.
“I need some light right now,” she wrote. “I need a reminder of the brightest light of all — love.”
Gillian Edevane covers Contra Costa County for NBC Bay Area. Contact Gillian.Edevane@NBCuni.com or at (669) 263-2895.