When Cumberland Police Chief Matt Benson arrived at his workplace shortly after the vacation break, a suspicious bundle was ready for him. Inside sat meals scraps.
“I opened it up and there were two ziplock baggies, with a half-eaten cookie and two half-eaten baby carrots,” Benson tells Yahoo Life, describing the contents as proof from a younger Rhode Island citizen claiming they might doubtlessly have proof that Santa Claus is actual.
Alongside the objects: a handwritten notice on yellow-lined paper from its sender, 10-year-old aspiring detective Scarlett Doumato.
“Dear Cumberland Police Department,” it learn. “I took a sample of a cookie and carrots that I left for Santa and the reindeer on Christmas Eve and was wondering if you could take a sample of DNA and see if Santa is real?”
In a matter of minutes, the bundle made an indelible impression on the division.
“We’re human, as well, and it put a smile on our faces,” Benson says of himself and his fellow officers. “You could see the energy and the kind of light and excitement that was garnered from them just reading it. So, we immediately put our heads together and decided we needed to do something about this, we need to really invest in it and make this really special for her.”
Soon after receiving the bundle, Benson opened a full-scale investigation and launched an announcement to the media concerning the state of affairs (with Doumato’s identify redacted), noting Santa’s different aliases, “Kris Kringle” and “Saint Nicholas.”
In the press launch, CPD confirmed they despatched proof — together with surveillance photos of a reindeer within the neighborhood that night time extracted from a close-by digicam — to the State Forensic Unit for additional testing.
But, unbeknownst to Benson, Doumato was on the case lengthy earlier than the police stepped in.
“Two years ago, my dad tried to catch Santa,” Doumato tells Yahoo Life. “He put his phone out, but then, when we looked at it the next morning, it looked almost Photoshopped. I got suspicious.”
Doumato credit her inquisitiveness to the lengthy hours she spends along with her dad watching detective reveals (her favourite is Monk). Those instincts had been put to the check on the morning of Dec. 25, 2022, when she found the newborn carrots and cookies she’d left for Santa and his 9 reindeer the night time earlier than had been half-eaten. By whom? she questioned. And can their DNA be traced?
“If Santa isn’t real, then who puts the presents under the tree?” she asks.
All good questions, argues Benson, who, like Doumato, dreamed of being a detective from an early age.
“She has me in spades,” he says. “She’s far more advanced than I ever was at that age. I mean, this was something I always wanted to do, but she’s taken it to another level. This is something that she wants to do, and she’s actually working on her craft and really investing in it personally.”
The trade wants extra folks like Doumato, says Benson.
“This girl has a passion for truth, and a passion for answers, and at such a young age,” he says. “I’d be doing a disservice to her and her family if I didn’t, from what my little distance to the situation is, if I didn’t support that, if I didn’t foster that and if me or my staff didn’t get behind and invest in it as well.”
The investigation, which has since gone viral, has become a household affair. Alyson Doumato, Scarlett’s mother, says she helps her daughter’s goals of changing into a detective.
“Let kids be who they are,” she tells Yahoo Life. “Each kid has a personality and we need to look at their strengths, and give them the things they need to let that continue to grow rather than try and change them.”
The outcomes are inconclusive
As quickly as the general public grew to become conscious of the investigation, Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee confirmed that the state’s well being division was “putting a rush” on delivering the outcomes, which, curiously, turned out to be inconclusive.
“Unfortunately there were no complete matches,” the well being division confirmed in a tweet. Interestingly, they famous, “there was a partial match to a 1947 case centered around 34th street in New York City.”
“Curiously,” the message continued, scientists “found presence DNA matching closely with Rangier tarandus, more commonly known as reindeer,” concluding that whereas they “aren’t able to definitely confirm or refute the presence of Santa,” they do “agree that something magical may be at play.”
The well being division’s message, which Benson confirms was not coordinated in collaboration with the Cumberland Police Department, did not sit nicely with investigators.
“Their determination was that it was inconclusive,” Benson says. “That’s not good enough for me.”
Benson tells Yahoo Life that on Monday officers introduced in an individual of curiosity for questioning who appears to match the suspect: “Older man, red suit, red hat and a white beard.”
“We did track that individual down. He was in our station yesterday and we had some questions for him,” he says, including that the suspect was appearing in “full cooperation” with the police.
“We have some more evidence we’ll be releasing from other neighbors and some more footage in the area,” Benson provides. “We got a lot of different angles. We’re not satisfied with an inconclusive finding from the state, so we’re going to continue forward.”
Doumato can be not giving up. In truth, she’s now making an attempt to unravel one other huge thriller, telling Yahoo Life in full confidence: “Me and my friends are trying to figure out what happened to Amelia Earhart.”
This investigation is ongoing…
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