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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Los Angeles airport police used Facebook to track down an Afghan immigrant couple who accidentally left their wedding album at the international terminal last year, leading to a ceremonial presentation this week of the long-lost memento, an official said on Friday.
The couple landed at Los Angeles International Airport in September 2014 from Afghanistan, where the husband was a military interpreter and faced threats due to his work, said Rob Pedregon, a spokesman for Los Angeles Airport Police.
On the day the couple flew into the airport, their wedding album was discovered tucked into a briefcase left in the international terminal, Pedregon said.
During the three-month window in which airport authorities hold lost items, no one claimed the album, despite its obvious sentimental value, Pedregon said.
But police did not want the memento to be lost forever.
So Pedregon said it was set aside until police announced on Facebook in mid-July that they were seeking its owner. The post received media attention.
As a result, a relative put police in touch with the couple, who now live in the northern California city of Modesto, Pedregon said.
The federal government has allowed former interpreters for the U.S. military in Afghanistan and Iraq to immigrate to the United States under special visas, because of the risks they and their families run.
On Thursday, a four-person airport police honor guard returning from services for a slain officer in Northern California delivered the album to the couple at their home. The joyful scene was captured by local media.
"It really worked out well for everybody," Pedregon said.
Along with the album, the officers returned ceremonial keepsakes from the wedding in Afghanistan including a tablecloth and linen napkins which also were in the briefcase, Pedregon said. The family treated the officers to a sumptuous meal.
The officers "didn't realize the magnitude of it until they actually got up there and saw the reception," he said.
The couple could not be reached for comment on Friday.
According to Modesto-area television station KXTV, the husband, Safiullah Jabarkhail, had told his wife they would not get the album back.
"I can't explain how happy I am," he said on Thursday after receiving the album, according to KXTV.
Jabarkhail has told local media his life was in danger in Afghanistan because he was an interpreter.
Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Daniel Wallis and David Gregorio