I came across two sketchy photos while developing a customer's photo order today. Both photos show an elderly woman in her 80s lying in bed with a copy of today's newspaper lain on her chest, both photos are the same except for the page of the newspaper shown: one is the front page of the LA times, the other is a different page--the dates on both are clearly visible.

The customer claimed the elderly woman was his mother, which makes no sense to me--why would anybody need such a photo to validate his or her mother was alive? Shouldn't their word be enough?

My boss doesn't want to report this to the police.

The only times I've seen such photos are in movies where kidnappers use them as proof of life.

My gut tells me to report this to the police. It just seems so sketchy.

But maybe such photos are commonly used for official legal purposes as well, such as proof of life for IDK... benefits?

Should I report this and risk pissing off my boss? Can my boss retaliate against me for going against his decision not to report?

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    What on earth makes you think they're a proof of life photo, and not just images taken of their mother, possibly quite soon before they are no longer there to take photos of? Your boss is telling you not to be an idiot and start screaming about zebra when it's apparently a pony. – Nij Apr 16 '18 at 11:17
  • I think the answer is clear from his question. If you wanted a portrait of your mother before she died, would you really drape a newspaper across her chest? Probably not, unless she's Helen Thomas. – bdb484 Apr 16 '18 at 15:03
  • What's your store's policy about developing photos that may reveal a crime that has taken place? Not your bosses, but your store's. If it's a chain store, it might be easy to look up on their website. – hszmv Apr 16 '18 at 16:15
  • And where do you get the impression the newspaper is "draped" across the chest? It's not uncommon for a person to read something and fall asleep in that position, particularly when older. Making mountains of molehills. @bdb484 – Nij Apr 16 '18 at 20:24
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    Where do you get the impression that she was sleeping? I get the impression that the papers are draped across her chest from the fact that the OP characterized the newspapers as having been "lain" across her chest, from the fact that the OP found them strange, and the fact that he's concerned about it enough to want to talk to the police. He's seen the pictures, so I'm going to work with his characterization. – bdb484 Apr 16 '18 at 20:30

I'm not that familiar with California whistleblower/retaliation laws, but I do know that the state has laws that generally protect people against retaliatory action based on the fact that they reported a crime or engaged in constitutionally protected activity during their off-hours.

What I can't tell you, though, is how strong those laws and procedures are. In Ohio, where I live, we have similar laws, but you'd better hire a lawyer if you're planning on using them, and even then, the system is really stacked against you if you try to get your job back.

It may be that the police will understand your situation and agree not to pursue any investigation in a way that would get back to your boss or otherwise jeopardize your job.

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