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Wrapping up some 2000 stories
" Mel Ogden Sr. stands in the pen with his two dead pygmy goats in August. whatever killed them escaped over the fence while carring the third small goat.Several stories received considerable publicity on South Whidbey in 2000 but were left dangling. Here's how they stand at the present moment.No charges in wild goose chaseHoax telephone calls on Sept. 7 resulted in an intensive island-wide manhunt for the caller and her two children, supposedly trapped in her car somewhere on Whidbey Island. After hours of searching by dozens of police, deputies, volunteer firefighters, and NAS Whidbey personnel, authorities finally confirmed the calls were based on a hoax.The caller, Cheryl Brown, allegedly made phony calls from her apartment in Florida to a friend in Oak Harbor who was expecting her to visit, but she never made the trip. The unwitting friend passed on the imaginary emergency information to 911.Island County Sheriff Mike Hawley said Thursday that existing laws don't adequately address such high tech hoaxes. Brown could have been found guilty only of a misdemeanor, and that would come at considerable expense to taxpayers. As a result, Prosecutor Greg Banks decided not to file charges.Banks said that charging Brown with a crime would have been prohibitively expensive, due to the distances involved, and there was no assurance of a conviction. He added that mental illness was a possible factor, and police in Palm Beach, Fla. who confronted Brown may have made procedural mistakes. Considering all factors, he decided not to file charges.Hawley said additional laws may be necessary to cover such cases, but he knows of no proposals before this upcoming session of the state Legislature. One particular problem is that 911 cell phone calls are hard to track, Hawley said. With regular phones, the originating site of the call is reported instantaneously. In the case of Brown's calls, it took hours to track the caller to Florida.Animal killer still at largeIn August, Mel and Frances Ogden of Midvale began reporting a series of animal killings on their farm. One goat was killed in a pen, another dragged away, and a third disappeared entirely. In addition, many chickens, ducks and other fowl were killed in separate attacks.Frances Ogden said last week that despite all-night vigils around the animal pens and efforts to poison and trap the predator, it was never identified. The Ogdens moved all their animals to pens close to the house and their problem appears to have ended.However, Ogden said, the publicity has prompted neighbors to start calling her when their animals are attacked, and many farm animals are still being lost in the area. She cited two dead feeder lambs on Log Cabin Road, and two killed day-old calves on Maxwelton Road, as well as other examples. Theories about the perpetrator run from coyotes to domestic dogs, raccoons or a large cat of some sort. Ogden simply calls it the whatever.Escaped serval is never foundIn late June, an African wild cat called a serval escaped from the home of Tiffany Cartier at Sunlight Shores. The spotted, 30-pound cat was seen on several occasion for the next few weeks but Cartier was never able to coax the cat home, said a resident of her house on Wednesday. There have been no recent reports of the cat, and its owners presume it is gone for good. "