ANGIER, North Carolina -- A family husky named Nukka, which had been missing from a family's household for nearly four years, was returned safely after years of mystery.
The Hart family were at a dance competition when it all started. They got a phone call from their neighbor saying the front door of their home was open, and their dog Nukka was missing.
When they got home, Josh Hart and his wife Rachel, along with their four children, started creating missing posters and posting to social media in hopes of finding the blue-eyed beauty.
"I just prayed she'd come back," said Owen Hart, the oldest of the Hart siblings.
Soon, though, the Harts started noticing something strange about the missing posters they'd worked so hard to put up: they were disappearing.
"Within a week, we noticed the signs were coming down," Josh Hart said.
Soon after the signs started disappearing, the Harts received a letter in their mailbox, and it hadn't been postmarked. The letter said that Nukka was dead and the family should move on.
"The letter always struck us... it didn't seem right," Josh said. "It didn't feel right."
Neighbors agreed the letter was odd. But, despite the Hart family's best efforts, Nukka was nowhere to be found. No sightings were reported. Her microchip had never been scanned.
As the years passed, the Harts sought closure. Eventually, they moved, but kept Nukka's chip information updated, hoping it would one day lead her home.
Then, in November 2018, nearly four years after Nukka disappeared, there was a knock on the door by a police officer.
"He said, 'Do you have a dog that came missing?'" said Rachel Hart. "He actually used the word stolen... I just put my hands over my mouth and I said 'husky'... we said husky at the same time."
Rachel exclaimed, "You have Nukka! You have my Nukka!"
Sure enough, Nukka, who the Hart family had come to accept may never be in their home again, was alive and healthy. With Nukka's disappearance solved, questions were answered.
The Harts said police told them that a woman had confessed to everything -- to keeping Nukka instead of giving her back, to pulling down the missing posters and to writing that letter that left Rachel in tears.
The woman, whose identity is unknown to the Harts, also attempted to disguise the husky with a black stripe down the middle of her face. That stripe is now starting to fade.
"It was like a story you see on TV," Rachel said. "How could this happen to us?"
The Harts said police informed them that stealing a dog is a felony, but they opted to not pursue criminal charges. They said they're just happy Nukka is home and was cared for during her time away.