GREENFIELD, Ind. -- A wedding photographer is under fire, accused of taking money from Central Indiana couples and not doing the work promised.
Couples spoke with Call 6 Investigates in the hopes of getting their memories back, or a refund.
When Marina and David Piechocki planned their August 2015 wedding at the Alexander in Indianapolis, their photographer was a top priority.
“The music and the photos were the most important,” said Marina Piechocki.
Marina and David hired Greenfield-based photographer Angel Canary to do pictures, an album, a highlight video and video of their family’s speeches at the reception.
“We gave her $5,000,” said Marina Piechocki.
The couple did receive an electronic copy of their photos and a video highlight link, but more than two years after the wedding, they still do not have their wedding album or the speeches they made sure to include in the contract.
"I mean, it's horrible,” said Marina Piechocki. “The memories of the happiest day of your life you don't have."
The speech videos are the last the Piechockis have of David’s father before he died unexpectedly, eight months after the wedding.
"He had given a toast, a shining example of who he was,” said David Piechocki. “It's the last video that we have of him since he passed. That was the most important thing to me to get on video and now we don't have that."
The Piechockis told Call 6 Investigates they’ve had difficulty getting in touch with Angel Canary.
“That was a nightmare,” said Marina Piechocki.
The Piechockis do not know who Angel Canary contracted with to take the speech videos, and so David made an urgent plea.
“If you videoed a wedding at the Alexander hotel downtown Indianapolis August 29, 2015, please reach out to us any way you can,” said David Piechocki. “We would love to have the raw footage."
Call 6 Investigates found other complaints about Angel Canary filed with the Better Business Bureau and the Indiana Attorney General’s office in which consumers said they paid Angel Canary, but then had a difficult time getting a hold of her to do the work.
Indiana Secretary of State Records show Angel Canary LLC and Angel Canary Photography Inc. were both dissolved in March 2016.
Call 6 Investigates spoke with couples who said they paid Angel Canary after that date, and never heard from her again.
“We paid her $2,600 and she is not planning on shooting our wedding,” said Ashley Smith, a bride with an October 2017 wedding. “I tried to call her two phone numbers, and she deleted her Facebook, her Instagram, she just hasn’t been responding.”
Adam Shlensky, a California resident who planned an Indiana wedding, booked Angel Canary to shoot his June 24, 2017 wedding.
“We paid $1,700 and after our payment was accepted, we didn’t hear from her again, and made repeated attempts to contact her via phone, email and even mail,” said Shlensky. “Obviously, we were very worried. We ended up having to book a different photographer.”
Call 6 Investigates stopped by Angel Canary’s studio, which is still listed on some wedding websites, but the landlord told us she moved out years ago.
Call 6 Investigates then stopped by Canary’s house in Greenfield, and left a business card, but Canary has yet to respond to Call 6 on the record.
But Canary did go on the record on August 7, 2017 when she represented herself in a Hancock County courtroom.
Another bride, Tracy Knecht, filed a lawsuit in Hancock County against Canary alleging she failed to deliver products and services.
At the August 7, 2017 bench trial, Canary said she’s had four strokes, according to the transcript.
“I have cognitive problems,” Canary told the court. “I have a heart condition and they’ll probably make me have a stroke out there.”
Canary also said she blocked the clients on social media.
“The reason she could not get in touch with me with Facebook was because they were blocked because I felt they were harassing me, and then her husband started harassing me,” said Canary in court. “And it says in section 20 (of their contract) that at any time, for any reason, inappropriate behavior, speech, harassment I can withdraw my services from them and I chose to do so.”
When the court asked for more documentation, Canary said she no longer had access to Facebook.
“Someone hacked into my accounts and they deleted them,” said Canary in court.
The court ruled in the newlyweds’ favor, awarding a $5,000 judgment against Angel Canary.
While Call 6 Investigates was digging through the court’s evidence file, she found the names of several wedding photographers previously recommended by Angel Canary on social media.
Call 6 Investigates tracked down Aaron Mitchell, owner of Capture Hour Productions, who said he has the Piechockis’ videos of speeches at their wedding.
Mitchell said he met with Angel Canary, but Canary said to put the project on hold because the Piechockis filed a complaint with the Indiana Attorney General.
Mitchell said Canary has been very sick for several months, and that she can’t finish the projects herself.
The Indiana Attorney General’s office is investigating several complaints against Angel Canary and the Better Business Bureau now lists the photographer as “Out of Business.”
Couples said they are sympathetic if Canary is suffering from an illness, but they wish the situation had been handled better.
“To just go away and just not communicate with everybody is just terrible,” said Ashley Smith. “It’s a lot of money and I would like it back. I want people to be aware of how she runs her business.”
Couples are left wondering if they’ll get a refund or their memories back.
"Hopefully she will come through,” said Piechoki. “It's been a painful two years. We're just trying to get what we paid for. "
In Canary’s response to the Attorney General, Canary said she’s attempted to find a replacement photographer for some of the couples.
However, both Ashley Smitha and Adam Shlensky said they couldn’t use the replacement photographer because it was too late or she could not provide what was in the contract.
Call 6 Investigates reached out to the replacement photographer, but she declined to answer any questions about Angel Canary and said Canary had been suffering from serious medical problems.