SALT LAKE CITY — “When Calls the Heart” returned to the Hallmark Channel on Sunday night and it answered one of the show’s lingering questions: How did the show handle Lori Loughlin’s exit?

“When Calls the Heart” went on a brief creative hiatus after Lori Loughlin, who was on the show, and her husband were named in the college admissions scandal. Hallmark cut ties with Loughlin in the immediate aftermath of the scandal, and “When Calls the Heart” took a creative break, according to the Deseret News.

In the meantime, rumors suggested “When Calls the Heart” edited Loughlin’s character, Abigail Stanton, out of the show. “When Calls the Heart” fans — “Hearties” — shared thoughts about what they thought would happen to Loughlin’s character as well.

On Sunday night, we got our answer.

Back on March 10, Abigail was working on a compromise with Lucas (Chris McNally). He agreed to her suggestion to keep Hope Valley’s saloon open late for just two nights a week, according to Entertainment Weekly.

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Well, Abigail’s departure came up within the show’s opening scenes. Elizabeth (Erin Krakow) narrated a letter she was writing that mentioned Abigail’s fate, according to Entertainment Weekly.

“We never know how life will turn,” she began. “It’s been a week since Abigail got word that her mother had taken ill back East. True to her nature, Abigail wasted no time in rushing off to care for her.

“Abigail is much more than a friend. She’s family, and I will miss her and Cody deeply. We all will. But we must get by as best we can.”

Of course with Elizabeth's letter, “fans will read into how much of the ... words were about Loughlin as well,” according to Entertainment Weekly.

And that’s that. “When Calls the Heart” will have its second return episode on Monday night. It’s unclear if we’ll get more references to Abigail. But for now, it looks like she’s gone from the show.

“When Calls the Heart” will return for a seventh season next year.

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