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Bluffton mother struggles to access daughter’s iPhone almost 5 years after her death

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Bluffton mother struggles to access daughter’s iPhone almost 5 years after her death

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Some parents who have lost a child don’t want to talk about it. For Chrissy Stover, talking about her late 16-year-old daughter is a tribute to her.

“There aren’t a lot of stories or covers on bereaved parents because it’s such a sensitive topic,” Stover said. “They (parents) don’t want to think about it, they don’t want to talk about it. I love talking about Olivia, … keeping her alive.

Since the death of his daughter, Stover no longer has access to his iPhone, which contains precious photos, videos and works of art by the amateur photographer. She moved to Bluffton in 2019 for a fresh start after her eldest daughter, Olivia Wallace, of Eaton, Ohio, died on January 7, 2017 in a car crash days before her 17th birthday.

Stover had taken a trip to Florida with his daughter in 2014, and the two fell in love with the area. The two loved to take pictures at the beach. After her death, Stover said she wanted to be near the ocean – which her daughter loved – and felt the beach was healing.

That fresh start would have been impossible in their close-knit community at home, Stover said, because “everyone knew everyone” and they knew what had happened to his family.

“The support they gave to my family was beyond words,” Stover said. “It was amazing, but at the same time, if I had the courage to get dressed and go to the grocery store, which is difficult, … I would run into someone and they would hug me. arms and would like to talk to me. “

Good intentions, she said, coupled with memories of her daughter on every corner, were too much.

“You wake up one day and you still have four kids, but one isn’t here,” Stover said. “They’re gone. It’s like you’re a new person.

Wallace was a dancer, cheerleader, and clarinetist. She loved the beach, went to concerts with her mother, and wanted to be a dental hygienist. This career path baffled Stover as she was afraid of dentists and her daughter was fascinated by them, she said.

“I would put on my big girl pants and sit with them even if I was shaking inside,” Stover said. “She would ask a million questions if she could, if her mouth wasn’t wide open.”

Wallace enjoyed being with his three younger siblings and taking pictures at sunset. She documented “everything” on her iPhone, Stover said.

I used to tease her about taking so many selfies and now I’m thankful she did, ”Stover said.

Days after Wallce died in a car crash, his iPhone was found at the scene covered in snow, his mother said. Several attempts were made to get into the phone, but those attempts were unsuccessful, Stover said.

This gave him two chances to unlock it by the time it was returned to him.

Because the phone had not been backed up, Stover said she feared a bad move could wipe out the last few months of her daughter’s life before she could see it.

16-year-old Olivia Wallace’s iPhone has been sitting on her mother’s nightstand every night since she died in a car crash on January 7, 2017. Today, almost five years after her death. dead, her mother is still looking for a way to get into her phone so that she can see the world through her daughter’s eyes.

Pieces of her

Any photos or videos she can recover of her daughter are a treasure, she said. Wallace enjoyed filming short clips of herself on Musical.ly, a lip-syncing social media app that closed in 2018. Its users then switched to TikTok, a similar app that became popular around the world. during the pandemic where people are posting videos of themselves playing pranks on friends and performing dance routines.

“It was Musical.ly before TikTok and she loved Musical.ly,” Stover said with a laugh. “I have quite a few videos of her, luckily. “

Unlike most teens who “only care about themselves”, Stover said his daughter has a “heart of gold”.

At his daughter’s funeral, Stover was surprised to see so many new faces and discovered that his daughter had helped children her age across the country.

“She used her social media to help others,” Stover said. “I had one who came to his visit telling me… my daughter saved his life. “

Stover, who has joined several grieving parent support groups since her daughter’s death, said she was not the only one unable to access their child’s locked iPhone.

Although she had the phone under her account and showed her daughter’s birth and death certificates in Apple stores, she was unlucky.

Law enforcement also struggled.

The FBI was pushed back by Apple in 2016 when it asked them to unlock a phone belonging to Syed Rizwan Farook, who killed 14 people in a mass shooting in San Bernadino, California. In this case, a federal district court ordered Apple to unlock the iPhone. After the judge’s ruling, Apple CEO Tim Cook issued a letter to customers saying building a “backdoor” to the iPhone would set a dangerous cybersecurity precedent.

“The FBI may use different words to describe this tool, but make no mistake: creating a version of iOS that circumvents security in this way would undeniably create a backdoor,” Cook said in the 2016 letter. And while the government could argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control. “

Stover does not seek government secrets or seek to solve a crime.

She hopes to unlock her daughter’s phone to “see the world through her eyes,” she said.

This little device has pieces of our kids that are gone, and to know there’s something in there that we haven’t seen, you’re dying to get it, ”Stover said.

Police offered to try and help her get into her phone, but Stover – scarred by stories of parents who went through the same thing in her support group – said she feared her daughter’s phone be erased if they cannot.

I understand the whole of privacy protection but as a guardian, as a parent of a minor I think there should be something we could do rather than pay thousands of dollars in court, ”Stover said.

She knows she probably won’t be able to unlock the phone, but she has a silver lining.

She keeps the charged phone on her bedside table and prays every night that she will wake up and find it, somehow, miraculously unlocked. If she can unlock it, it will be like finding a piece of her daughter.

“As a bereaved parent you want as much as you can get,” Stover said. “To see her photos, to see through her eyes, … I never want to be forgotten.”

Bluffton mother struggles to access daughter’s iPhone almost 5 years after her death

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Olivia Wallace, 16, from Eaton Ohio, died in a car crash in 2017. Since her death, her mother, Chrissy Stover, has moved to Bluffton, SC to be near the beach and a place that her daughter loved.

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