SUMMERTOWN, Tenn. (WKRN) – A miraculous reunion happened months after a man was murdered and his beloved pet bird went missing.

Patrick Barger, 25, was found shot on St. Patrick’s Day in a workshop in Summertown, and his green-cheeked conure named “Rikka” was missing.

The Lawrence County family never gave up hope they’d find Rikka, and now their prayers have been answered.

“For this tiny bird to come back from 34 miles away is just a miracle, and we believe that prayers did this,” Bridget Barger told News 2. 

It’s a prayer Bridget has been asking since her son was found shot on St. Patrick’s Day, a prayer that was answered with a phone call from a stranger dozens of miles away.

“I absolutely believe it was a godly intervention, I do. I believe it was,” Lee Norman explained.

Norman was in his parents’ barn when he did a double take.

“I happened to look up on a beam at the barn and there sat this bird. I asked my brother, ‘You see that? He said, ‘Yeah.’ I said, ‘That looks like a parrot.’ So I went up into the loft and I started tearing pieces of bread off of it and putting it on a plate, and just soon as I started doing that he landed beside me and started eating out of my hand, and I reached and grabbed him and put him in the laundry basket.”

A family member of Norman’s had heard the story of the Barger family’s quest to find their son’s missing bird, so he tracked them down through social media.

“When he called me I was like, ‘That’s too far. It’s not Rikka. There’s no way,'” said Bridget, but she left immediately.

An emotional reunion was caught on video as Rikka flew to Bridget’s head, reassuring the heartbroken mom she had found her son’s bird. 

“I think you can see in my body that I was just overwhelmed with feeling and disbelief,” she said. 

Rikka then snuggled against her neck the entire way home.

“I knew then we had been given just a gift of grace,” Bridget said.

Meanwhile, Rikka hasn’t left Bridget’s side since.

“Rikka was lying on my chest and I said, ‘This feels so good.’ His little feet feel so good to me,” Bridget said, beginning to cry. 

It’s a feeling that reminds Bridget of her son, yet still leaving her in disbelief.  

“I still in the middle of the night wake up and think he won’t be there, that I’m imagining it, dreamed it, but then I wake up and I hear him,” she cried. 

The sound of a bird’s song brings a smile to Bridget’s heart yet again, while renewing her faith that this could be the key in finding her son’s killer.

“Now that this has happened, I believe that we can do that. I think that our family and friends and the prayers sent up from Middle Tennessee, it’s gonna happen,” she stated.

Bridget said the bird has been hungry and clingy, but overall in good spirits.

“He’s lost a lot of feathers and he’s gained a lot of thicker feathers because I guess he’s been very cold. We don’t know what he’s been through. We don’t know where he’s been, how he’s been kept, how he made it this far. We just don’t know,” she said.

She believes someone may have stolen Rikka and brought the bird to Maury County.

“That’s certainly a possibility and that’s kind of scary to think that the person that did this might be in the area,” said Norman.

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He hopes Rikka gives the family a sense of peace, saying God definitely had a hand in the reunion. He said he rarely goes into his parent’s barn where Rikka was found and that he was putting up a welder, pointing out that Patrick worked in welding, often with Rikka on his shoulder.

News 2 reached out to the Maury County Sheriff who said he was aware of the incredible discovery. News 2 also called the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department who is investigating Patrick’s murder. If anyone has any additional information, you are asked to call investigators at 931-762-3626.