Cougar statue discovered at location of a different investigation

BENTON CITY, Wash. — A bronze cougar statue went missing from Howard Amon Park. On June 10, 2022, the Richland Parks and Rec posted on Facebook, asking for its return.

Benton County Sheriff’s office discovered the cougar statue  Wednesday night at a residence in Benton City. After reaching out to the BCSO, we learned that the deputy on the scene was actually investigating another call.

Deputy Betancourth was on a call regarding ‘malicious mischief,’ according to Commander Mathew Clarke with the BCSO. Clarke reported that there were some broken windows at the residence.

“He gained information that there was a possible cougar statue inside this residence,” Commander Clarke said. “He did some research and realized that’s the statue that was inside the residence, so he had to apply for a search warrant and was therefore granted a search warrant to enter the residence and take possession of the cougar statue.”

The deputy told Commander Clarke the statue was removed from the park after the bolts were cut. This caused damage to the place the cougar used to sit at Howard Amon Park.

“After the statue was recovered from within the residence, Richland Police Department sent one of their officers in a truck to pick up the statue,” said Commander Clarke.

Richland Parks and Rec is currently making assessments on the damage. The City of Richland is holding the statue until it makes its return to the park.

The BCSO confirmed that it was not a prank, like some speculation suggested. He said it was theft.

Commander Clarke said, “We don’t believe it was a prank and we’re still investigating the incident.”

He said the investigation is underway about why it was in the Benton City residence and how it got there. According to him, there is a potential suspect, but no one has faced charges.

RELATED: Bronze cougar statue “borrowed” from Richland’s Howard Amon Park

RELATED: Missing cougar statue recovered by Benton County deputies