Missing monkeys taken from Dallas Zoo found in closet of abandoned home; police search for person of interest
Dallas police said two monkeys believed to have been taken from the state's largest zoo this week have been found in a closet at an abandoned home outside city limits.
Authorities also released a photo of a person with whom detectives want to speak in connection to the animals' disappearance and asked the public to help identify the person.
"We are thrilled beyond belief to share that our two emperor tamarin monkeys have been found," Dallas Zoo officials tweeted Tuesday night. "(Police) located the animals early this evening, and called our team to come secure and transport the tamarins back to the Zoo. They will be evaluated by our veterinarians this evening."
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The zoo said it planned to share an update on the monkeys Wednesday.
"Details about the recovery will come from Dallas PD," it tweeted.
A Dallas police spokesperson told USA TODAY on Wednesday that officers, with help from the Lancaster Police Department, found the monkeys at about 4:50 p.m.
"Dallas police received a tip the monkeys may be at an abandoned home in Lancaster," police said.
Lancaster is in Dallas County about 10 miles south of the zoo.
Officers from both agencies went to the home, and police said they found both monkeys in a closet.
Dallas Police, with the help of the Lancaster Police Department, located the two missing tamarin monkeys from the Dallas Zoo at an abandoned home in Lancaster.
Pictured is one of the animals still inside the closet of the house.
The monkeys have been returned to the zoo. pic.twitter.com/vfWj7aAt3T
— Dallas Police Dept (@DallasPD) February 1, 2023
The monkeys were returned to the zoo, police said, and the case remained under investigation Wednesday.
No arrests had been made, police said Wednesday.
But police were asking the public for help identifying a person in a photo and video released Tuesday.
"Detectives are looking to speak with the man in regard to the two tamarin monkeys missing," the department tweeted.
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Dallas Police are looking for the public’s help in identifying the pictured individual. Detectives are looking to speak with the man in regard to the two tamarin monkeys missing from the Dallas Zoo.
Anyone with information- call 214-671-4509. pic.twitter.com/VVvvHFAdgJ
— Dallas Police Dept (@DallasPD) January 31, 2023
The zoo tweeted that its animal care team discovered Monday morning that two of its monkeys were missing. The zoo was closed Monday because of inclement weather and was expected to stay shut through Wednesday.
"It was clear the habitat had been intentionally compromised," the zoo said.
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On Monday morning (January 30), Dallas Zoo alerted the Dallas Police Department after the animal care team discovered two of our emperor tamarin monkeys were missing. It was clear the habitat had been intentionally compromised. pic.twitter.com/NzBhIh7xS3
— Dallas Zoo (@DallasZoo) January 30, 2023
Zoo staff searched near the habitat and the rest of the property but could not find them. Staff then alerted police, who opened an investigation.
In a statement to USA TODAY this week, police said a preliminary investigation found someone intentionally cut into the monkey enclosure.
We are thrilled beyond belief to share that our two emperor tamarin monkeys have been found. DPD located the animals early this evening, and called our team to come secure and transport the tamarins back to the Zoo. They will be evaluated by our veterinarians this evening. pic.twitter.com/bDd49d3uDc
— Dallas Zoo (@DallasZoo) February 1, 2023
A series of unusual circumstances
The case of the missing monkeys is just one of several unusual events that have taken place at the zoo in recent weeks.
On Jan. 13, the zoo was shut down after Nova, a 4-year-old clouded leopard, vanished. She was found on zoo grounds and safely secured. Harrison Edell, executive vice president of animal care and conservation at the Dallas Zoo, noted there was a tear in the mesh of Nova's enclosure that morning.
On Jan. 14, Dallas police opened a criminal investigation and found that an intentional cut was made in the enclosures that house langur monkeys. No monkeys were missing or harmed.
On Jan. 21, Pin, a 35-year-old endangered adult lappet-faced vulture, was found dead in its habitat. The zoo said a veterinary team found "an unusual wound and injuries, which pointed to this not being a natural death."
Anyone with information about any of the incidents or who can identify the person in the photo released by detectives was asked to contact Dallas police.
Contributing: Jordan Mendoza, USA TODAY
Natalie Neysa Alund covers trending news for USA TODAY. Reach her at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter @nataliealund.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Missing Dallas Zoo monkeys found: Police look for person of interest