Matt Smith said John La Grange left a note on his front door asking if he owned a drone. La Grange apparently recognized the home from some of the footage recovered from the GoPro. On that same day, Smith said another friend e-mailed him the story Fox 5 covered of the "under the sea" discovery.
When the quadcopter and GoPro were returned Friday night, Smith tried offering him a reward, but La Grange refused to accept it.
Last month, La Grange went diving off Solana Beach in search of fish to cook for dinner. Instead, he found a drone half buried in the sand. He was able to free the drone and noticed a GoPro attached.
La Grange was surprised to find the GoPro dry, and files still accessible. He realized the last recorded footage took place nearly a year before and did not recognize the man launching the drone in the footage.
Fox 5 aired the story about the discovery Monday, November 3.
Smith said he believes the drone went down on November 2, 2013 because of a battery malfunction. He said he was horrified to see the drone sink into the Pacific and thought he would never see it again.