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Authorities Arrest Suspect In Boise Zoo Monkey Death

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By Paul Johnson

Boise, Idaho (KMVT-TV) - Boise Police have arrested a man and charged him with two felonies in connection with the death of a Patas monkey inside Zoo Boise over the weekend. The monkey’s death is believed to be connected to a break-in at the zoo early Saturday morning. Police say they arrested Michael J. Watkins, 22, Weiser, Idaho charging him with Burglary and Grand Theft. The suspect, Watkins is currently in the custody of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in Weiser, Idaho.
“I speak for many of us in the police department and the community who were angered and outraged over this senseless crime. The loss of this Patas monkey has touched many lives, including our officers and investigators. Officers spent countless hours this weekend and today tracking and developing leads. As usual, it was a combination of a citizen tip and good police work that led us to the arrest in this case,” said Chief Michael Masterson of the Boise Police Department.
Boise Police were called by a security employee at Zoo Boise at 4:30 Saturday morning, Nov. 17th. The employee reported a burglary in progress. The guard had spotted two males, one inside the zoo, the other outside the zoo’s perimeter fence near the primate exhibit. When the men saw the security guard, they ran. The suspect inside the fence appeared to run into the interior of the zoo. Two thorough searches of the zoo, including one sweep with a thermal imager did not find the suspect.
During the search, officers and zoo employees found a Patas monkey lying next to the perimeter fence inside the zoo near the primate exhibit where the suspect was last seen. The monkey appeared to be seriously injured. Zoo managers immediately took the injured animal to the onsite veterinarian for emergency medical treatment; however the monkey died a short time later. Zoo officials say a necropsy showed the monkey’s cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head and neck.
Boise Police property crimes detectives found the suspect who was seen inside the zoo had to overcome several zoo security measures to gain entry into the Zoo and into the Patas monkey enclosure. Detectives found blood evidence are currently testing the blood to see if it's human. A ball cap also believed to belong to the suspect was found inside the zoo near the primate exhibit.


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