Jeanie Ditty, a 23-year-old soldier at Fort Bragg, told a compelling story to a photographer about how her daughter died by choking on a banana.
The photographer, Sunny Jo, has an interesting and unique service—he will memorialize deceased love ones by photoshopping their “ghost” into photographs with those that are mourning the loss. The beautifully haunting photos made headlines, and Ditty was one of his customers.
"She is 23 years old and that is young to lose a child," he says. "And I just felt for her. This was terrible. This poor girl just lost her daughter. This must be the most heartbreaking thing in the world. So when she asked me to do the photos I said absolutely. I just knew that one way or another I wanted to get the pictures done for what I thought at the time was a grieving mother."
After taking some photos at her daughter’s grave, Jo added the ghostly likeness of her daughter into the background. The results were stunning.
"She offered to pay, and honestly, I couldn't do it," Jo told ABC News. "It was a gift for what I thought was a grieving mother at the time."
Months later, however, Ditty and her boyfriend, 32-year-old Zachery Keefer, were charged with first-degree murder in the death of Ditty’s 2-year-old daughter.
ABC News reports, “On December 2, officers were called to the Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in Fayetteville, N.C., when emergency room medical staff discovered bruises all over Macy Grace's body and determined she had suffered from ‘life threatening injuries consistent with child abuse,’ police said. When she was transferred to UNC Hospital at Chapel Hill, it was determined that the injuries had been inflicted within a 24-hour period.”
The toddler died two days later at the UNC Hospital in Chapel Hill.
After an autopsy on the body ruled the death a homicide, a warrant was issued for Ditty and Keefer. Ditty was arrested on March 24, and Keefer turned himself in shortly after, according to the Fayetteville Police Department.
They are both being held without bond, and it is unclear if either has entered a plea or obtained a lawyer.
Upon hearing the news, Jo said that it has been the worst mistake of his life.
"I couldn’t sleep since this happened," he says. "The only thing that helps me out is me thinking I didn't do it for Jeanie I did it for the spirit of Macy. The only thing I was trying to do was help a grieving mother. I just wanted to make someone happy who was going through a tough time."
Jo says that he has been getting excessive hate mail since the story broke, but there is one thing he doesn't regret about all this: "The only good part about this is that baby has a voice now. We gave Macy Grace a voice."
Banner Image Credit: Sunny Jo Photography