Suddenly, and finally, she saw her sister, Kali, and cried out.
"Dad! Dad, this is her!" she said. "This is her shirt. This is the one that she bought."
Kali's father, Stuart Breisch, leaned forward and also recognized the girl in the picture.
"It is her," he said. The two fell into each other's arms, simultaneously weeping and laughing at their tragic discovery.
The heart-rending scene was captured by "Good Morning America." The ABC news show was filming the Utah pair for a Monday interview.
The family's appearance on the show was postponed in light of the discovery. An ABC spokeswoman said the show's crew had spent less than a day with the Breisches when the pair decided to return to where Kali had been lost, to make a final effort to find her.
Now, the father and daughter are trying to find Kali's body, hoping to bring her remains back to Utah, said the girl's aunt, Joni Glynn of Salt Lake City.
"Forensic doctors are doing everything they can to locate bodies," said Glynn, who spoke to her brother-in-law shortly after Kali's picture was found. "She's probably somewhere in the morgue site."
At Skyline High School in Salt Lake City, where Kali, 15, was a sophomore, the student body watched a videotape of the "Good Morning America" segment, seeing the wrenching moment when Kali's sister and father grasped, finally, that she was dead.
"It was heartbreaking, yet touching," said Deb Bennett, Kali's health teacher, after watching the segment with one of her classes. "Before that, we all had that glimmer of hope that she would be found, and now it's about dealing with the loss."
After finding out early Monday that Kali was confirmed to be among the 150,000 to die in the Dec. 26 tsunami, hundreds of classmates and teachers rushed to buy a blue "Skyline Eagles" bracelet, sold to raise money for the relief effort in Kali's name.
A $3 donation seemed like such a feeble gesture to ease the tremendous loss, but it was all student Alaide Neve could spare.
"I don't have a job, and I don't have a lot of money, and I didn't know Kali very well," said Neve, 17. "I can't do much here, but I want to do as much as I can."
When student body officers came to Bennett's class to sell the bracelets, no one hesitated. "Everybody stood up and gave money," she said.
By the end of the day Monday - the first back from the holiday break - bracelet sales already had surpassed $1,800, student body President John Johansen said.
"I was hoping for selling half of them," Johansen said. "We're already almost done with the first thousand. It's amazing that when something drastic happens, everybody just chips in."
The school has a second box of 1,000 bracelets, but has not yet decided how to distribute them.
Students also wrote goodbye notes on a pad of paper taped to Kali's locker, just down the hall from the gallery of trophies marking students' athletic and musical achievements.
"I know that you are in a better place."
"I didn't know you that well, but you were such a strong and confident person."
"Your memory lives on through all the lives you have touched."
"I have always admired you and will forever remember you and how much potential you had."
Kali's brother, Jai, 16, a Skyline junior, is recovering in a Bangkok hospital from a separated shoulder and a leg laceration. He was in a bungalow at the Khao Lak Emerald Resort with Kali when a massive wave hit the building and threw him against a tree. His sister disappeared.
"Things would float on top of me, and I couldn't breathe," he said on the "Good Morning America" segment. "And [I] was really, really struggling for my life."
Stuart Breisch, a physician who practices emergency medicine at Jordan Valley Hospital in West Jordan; Shonti, a student at the University of Puget Sound in Washington; and Stuart's fiancée, Sally Nelson, a psychotherapist in the San Diego area, were on a dive boat on the ocean when the tsunami struck, and survived.
For five days, Breisch and Shonti combed the Khao Lak area looking for Kali while Nelson remained at Jai's bedside.
The sad discovery was a relief in a way, Glynn said. The family will return together to the United States once Kali's remains are found.
"We sensed [her death] all along, we really did," Glynn said. "We could feel it. Actually, we could not feel it. There has been a sense of emptiness."
That same emptiness pervades Skyline, where three other students and a custodian have died since summer.
Two students died in hiking accidents and another died in a car accident, principal Kathy Clark said. The custodian, a 14-year veteran at the school, suffered a heart attack in one of the hallways earlier in the year.
"The student body has been wracked by these deaths," Clark said. "But I think it helps whenever you can do something to make something good come out of something so bad. The student body has a way of responding to tragedy."