Age progression photos help families cope

ST. LOUIS COUNTY (KSDK) - Age progression technology is used in missing children cases to see what they might look like as an adult. The technology is also being used for a different reason.

It's helping thousands of parents who are grieving the death of a child. When a Normandy woman's daughter died at a young age, she always wondered what she would have looked like as an adult. Now, she has the answer.

Barbara Scales describes her only child, Nafeesa, as wise beyond her years.

Scales said, "Now that she's gone, I feel that God speeded her life up."

Nafeesa battled cancer for three years and passed away when she was just 11 years old.

"You think of her everyday," she said.

Fast forward to more than two decades after her daughter's death when a close family friend took a chance on a gift. A photo of what Nafeesa might have looked like in present day.

Patrina Jones, family friend, said, "This could go one of two ways. It could be really scary, it could be really depressing or it could actually go over well."

The latter happened.

Scales said, "It was so good to see her at this age. So, it didn't make me angry. I wasn't upset because she gave it. I started crying because it was just a great idea."

Because it answered the question that so many parents who lose a child have.

"This is what I always wonder: 'How would she look?' Because she would be 32 right here," Scales said.

Her friend found a company called PhoJoe Photo that offers age progression services similar to what forensic artists use for missing children.

Jones said, "I had to send them a couple different pictures. From birth on up to her last moments on Earth."

Phoejoe Photo says it uses a mix of technology, art and intuition to create photos of what people might look like years into the future.

They say they've done thousands, and most of their customers are parents who've lost a child. For Scales, she said the age progressed photo has helped her cope with the loss of Nafeesa.

"I just start praising God that he gave me 11 years," she said.

An age progressed photo will cost $200 through the company she used.

For more information, visit the PhoJoe website.


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