Matthew Dippel snapped a gorgeously backlit photo of a silhouetted man popping the question to his girlfriend on a scenic overlook in California’s Yosemite National Park on Oct. 6 — and after weeks of searching, he has finally found the couple.
“Alright Internet I need your help. Help me find these two,” Dippel, a Michigan-based photographer, wrote on Facebook — where the picture racked up thousands of shares — on Oct. 17. “I took this photo and would love for them to find it.”
Despite reaching thousands, the search for the couple didn’t end quickly though.
“I had countless people reach out during the search saying they know the couple, that it was their cousin, friend, so on and so forth. So I took anyone reaching out saying they know who it is with caution,” Dippel exclusively tells PEOPLE.
He shared his frustration on Twitter. “Still no luck,” he wrote two days after his initial posts. “A lot of people saying they found them but doesn’t turn out to be the right couple. If you honestly think you found them message me please!”
“Either this wonderful couple doesn’t want to be found (which I fully understand), or they don’t pay attention to social media and the news, thus living under a rock,” he added on Oct. 22.
His hope was waning by Oct. 25. “At this point I’m beginning to believe they have seen it and choose to remain unnamed,” he posted on Twitter. “I will continue searching for a while, so don’t worry I’m not giving up, just not making it priority #1 anymore.”
Dippel’s search finally came to an end when he was put in touch with the couple, identified Charlie Bear and his fiancé Melissa.
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“When Charlie’s brother reached out to me and actually connected me with Charlie and Melissa, I was still unsure it was them,” Dippel explains to PEOPLE. “They then provided me with time-stamped photos of them up there at the exact same time, wearing the same thing.”
The moment he realized that he had located the couple was celebratory. “So when I officially knew that it was them, a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders,” he recalls to PEOPLE. “I started jumping up and down in my basement because I had finally found them! I was so happy to get connected with them, and just to hear the gratitude in their voice was so heartwarming.”
Dippel shared the news with his followers over the weekend. “UPDATE: I FOUND THEM. Everyone meet, Charlie Bear and his fiancé Melissa the happy happy couple that was out on the point in my Taft Point Proposal,” he wrote online. “In short, I captured the second proposal, the more special and official one in Charlie’s words. Huge congratulations to you two. I wish I was able to meet you in person and hug you.”
“I’m glad I finally found you to share this special moment with you, thanks for being so awesome, maybe one day we will finally meet in person!” he added.
The couple expressed their love of the photo on Instagram. “It us! Huge thank you once again to Matthew for capturing this special moment and taking the time to track us down,” Charlie said. “Also, a big thanks to all of the media outlets and inter-webs for spreading the word and all of the positive well wishes. Success!”
“We can’t thank Matt enough for all of his efforts in trying to find us! I’m still trying to comprehend all of this and half of me still doesn’t believe this actually has gone viral online! We love you all!!” Melissa gushed. “Now off to wedding planning!”