A family traveling through Omaha on Halloween was stopped in their tracks, when thieves stole their U Haul while they slept in a hotel.
But on November 6th, there was a break in the case. It happened when a bank called the Omaha police after Chad Franco, 41, tried to cash in bonds. The problem: the bonds belonged to the Skomra Family.
Rita and Stewart Skomra were called by the police and Franco arrested. Investigators were able to get Franco to admit where some of the stolen items were dumped.
Police dropped everything they were able to collect at the home of Kellie Mingus. After seeing the first story of the theft on WOWT 6 News, she realized she knew the Skomra's from 15 years ago. She sent them a message online -- the Skomra's contacting her back immediately.
It was at Mingus' home police dropped off the items recovered from the ravine; fifteen grimy, wet trash bags.
WOWT 6 News was there when the garage doors opened, and the Skomra's got to see the items for the first time.
Inside each one, things that would mean nothing to anyone else, but to the Skomra's they are the items they treasure more than anything else in the world.
Every few seconds the pair burst into tears. They happily caress items they thought they would never see again.
Among the bags are tax items, college diploma's and tons of pictures.
"I didn't imagine that we would get this one back," says Rita. She is holding a photo collage she made of her two sons Troy and Trent.
There is a reason this frame is so special. In June, 23 year-old Trent unexpectedly passed away.
"These are the last pictures I have of Troy with his brother," said Rita finding another picture frame with four photos.
As they sift through the bags, they each wonder about a box. They are looking for the box that held all of Trent's funeral items. And while they wonder, those very funeral items feared lost start to resurface.
"This is from his funeral," said Stewart, holding the funeral memory book. He flips through it gently, looking at all the signatures of friends and family that will miss Trent forever.
All the memories are damp after being rained on for a few days. But the family doesn't care -- they are just happy to have it back.
"I don't think there is anyway we can thank them enough," they both say together when they think of the Omaha Police Department.
Police think Franco is the thief behind it all.
Anyone would think the Skomras would wish him the worst -- but that just isn't the kind of people they are.
"I'm not a big fan of punishing, I am a big fan of helping him find a better way," said Stewart.
Franco was booked for theft by receiving over $1500, possession of controlled substance, marijuana less than ounce, possession of paraphernalia, and forgery.
The Skomra's hope Franco will tell detectives more about where some of the still unaccounted for items may be.