SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Seventeen-years-ago, a San Diego woman mistakenly received a box filled with a stranger's belongings. Throughout the years, she has tried to return the box to its rightful owner.

In 1998, when Jeanette Smith immigrated from South Africa to the United States, she brought everything she owned with her, but as she unpacked, Jeanette discovered one of her thirty boxes was missing.

In its place, a mystery box filled with the belongings of a stranger.

"There's hundreds of photos in there and journals," said Jeanette.

By the time Jeanette called the moving company, the moving company had moved on.

"They could not give me a name or help me try to trace it," she said.

Jeanette did her own digging, which always felt invasive.

Hundreds of those pictures show one smiling face over and over. Jeanette things her name is Trudy Hatfield.

Jeanette grew up in Durbin. She wrote letters and made phone calls trying to track Trudy.

The pictures are sticking together after 17-years, just like the box has stuck to Jeanette through three of her moves.

When Jeanette moved to the United States, the box she lost contained her father's coin collection. She knows what it feels like to lose something irreplaceable.