Fans of Emmerdale have been speculating Joe Tate’s (played by Ned Porteous) existence since the businessman was violently punched by Cain Dingle (Jeff Hordley) and assumed dead.
His disappearance puzzled his girlfriend, Debbie Dingle (Charley Webb), who later learned her father was responsible for his shock exit.
Cain has struggled to cope since he struck his daughter’s partner and is convinced he killed him.
However, it was Graham Foster (Andrew Scarborough) who delivered the final blow not the father-of-three.
Interestingly, Joe’s body was never revealed to viewers and there is every possibility the entrepreneur could still be alive.
With Debbie set to leave the Dales in a matter of months, fans are convinced her departure will have something to do with Joe.
Charley Webb, who plays the role of Debbie, recently announced she is expecting her third child with husband Matthew Wolfenden and will eventually go on maternity leave.
Some fans have suggested Debbie will reunite with Joe as in the coming days she will be revealed to be hiding a huge secret from her grandmother Faith Dingle (Sally Dexter).
Providing evidence from Joe’s last scene on Emmerdale, one fan explained the businessman’s finger was twitching while he laid on the ground after being attacked by both Cain and Graham.
The person wrote: “I’m starting to think Joe Tate is alive. Here’s what I think happened. We know he was alive with the finger movement.
“Graham though thought he was dead and buries him. Joe comes round and digs himself out although it probably wasn’t that deep a hole.
“One thing Joe will have done was hide some money because he knew it was only matter of time before Kim [Tate] turned on him so he puts it in either a suitcase or rucksack and buries it somewhere only he knows.”
They added: ”He then leaves to plan his next move. At some point Debbie will start getting calls from someone but they keep hanging up which will be Joe.
“Eventually he’ll talk and let her know he’s alright and will ask her to meet him.
“This could be Charley’s exit to go on maternity leave.”
Actress Charley confirmed her pregnancy earlier this month when she uploaded a family picture on her Instagram account.
In the sweet photo her two children are seen standing in front of her and her spouse as one of them held a sign, which read: “Buster, Bowie and…”
She captioned the “#Number3” and was bombarded with dozens of compliments from some of her 249, 000 Instagram followers.
One person shared: “So happy for you guys! Such gorgeous news!” while another simply said: “Congratulations to you all.”
Emmerdale continues tonight on ITV at 7pm.