APPLE VALLEY (CBSLA) —  Don and Ginger Stuart haven’t seen their daughter Krystie in nearly three years. So when someone texted them last week, saying they had Krystie in captivity, the couple was relieved.

“I was hoping it was the real thing, and that we would be seeing our daughter soon,” her father Don Stuart said.

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The Stuart’s had no idea what happened to the 29-year-old after she left a dentist’s appointment in Apple Valley in March of 2015. Investigators found her truck out in the middle of the desert, but there had been no trace of her. Finally, they thought they had an answer. Krystie was in Tennessee, and just needed a little money to get out of trouble.

“They were saying Krystie was sick, she needed to go to the hospital,” her mother Ginger Stuart said. “They really just preyed on the heartstrings.”

Krystie Stuart, missing from Apple Valley since March 2015

But when Krystie’s parents looked closely at the photo that was sent to them, they realized it had been edited.

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“The face was cut out of a picture that’s on one of Krystie’s flyers,” Ginger Stuart said.

Sheriff’s investigators traced the texts and found out they had originated in Nigeria. Other families of missing people have also been getting similar messages from scam artists.

“I think it’s really low life, just to put it bluntly. It’s just really low life,” Don Stuart said.

Krystie’s parents are disappointed, but not discouraged. They still believe that they’ll be reunited with their daughter soon.

“We never give hope, never give up hope,” Ginger Stuart said.

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The Stuart’s have been advised to not put their phone number on any information about their daughter.