Family reunited with stolen keepsakes of late son: Items dumped in Nebraska ravine

U-Haul stolen during their move from SD to Chicago

SAN DIEGO - A local family has been reunited with keepsakes of their late son that were stolen during their move across the country.

Stew and Rita Skomra's U-Haul was stolen from a hotel parking lot in Nebraska during their move from San Diego to Chicago. Inside were all the keepsakes of their 23-year-old son Trent, a Poway High School graduate who died suddenly in June.

They made a plea to an Omaha television station, never believing it would be answered. It led them to an emotional reunion with their possessions, dumped in an Omaha ravine.

The Skomras say the thief who had swiped the truck had seen them on the news, telling police where to find it.

"Made him feel really bad about the possessions that he had taken," said Stew Skomra.

In all, 15 bags worth were recovered. They called it overwhelming.

"To open up that photo album and see your son's baby pictures and playing with his brother on vacation and … you know, I never thought I'd see those pictures," said Rita Skomra.

Although a lot was damaged and more still missing, the Skomras say getting any of it back is worth something.

"I realize now that to me it's Trent … he's pointing the way," said Stew Skomra.

Omaha police arrested Chad Franco on suspicion of forgery after they say he tried cashing a savings bond in the Skomras' names. Though they recovered a lot, there is still about $45,000 worth of possessions they never got back but say what they did recover is priceless.

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