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(Editor’s note: The following story is partly satirical, partly true and some facts may have been embellished.)
Christmas-time is not the same right now for Sandy Cook.
The Williamstown High School instructional assistant is feeling like she was given a lump of coal in her stocking.
Cook brought a decorative snowman to bring holiday cheer to the halls of Williamstown, but only after a couple days, he was gone.
The snowman had vanished without a trace, leaving behind only a note pleading for Cook to hurry to save him.
“I knew that something would happen,” she said. “In three or four days, we got the first ransom note. I have no clue who it is. There’s a couple people who do know. But, someway they sneak in. I’m really upset.”
Cook said the kidnapper(s) have never given a ransom, but she immediately called Williamstown police when her friend was taken.
“We got the call that a white male with a pointy orange nose almost like a carrot wearing a red snow cap and scarf, a green Christmas sweater and a constant smile from ear to ear had gone missing,” said Williamstown Police Assistant Chief Chris Hankins. “We investigate all potential kidnappings vigorously. This is a serious matter and the perpetrator will be caught and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
Shortly after, an all points bulletin was posted throughout the school directing anyone with information on the whereabouts of the missing snowman to contact authorities.
With each passing day, a new note has shown up taped to the chair that the snowman briefly called home at the school.
Each note features a photo of the snowman in a new location, almost taunting Cook as she grieves for her beloved companion.
Looking at the photos, the snowman has been around nearly all of Grant County since he has gone missing.
He got his drivers’ license at the Grant County Courthouse and a photo of Williamstown Fire Chief Les Whalen was featured in one note from the kidnapper as he tries to give the snowman CPR.
The message simply stated, “Help! My stuffing is getting weak!!”
“Somebody came in with a snowman and said he had stopped breathing,” Whalen said. “So, I just revived him.”
Whalen said he was not sure who brought the snowman into the station and he could not comment on how the snowman stopped breathing.
Cook said students and teachers have been gathering around to see what message the kidnapper(s) have left.
All of the notes are posted in the hallway wall for all to see.
“I’m surprised they haven’t set up a camera yet to catch who is leaving the notes,” said WHS junior Kaela Kennedy. “I think it’s one of the teachers.”
There has been one suspect in the case, middle school science teacher, Sean Binder.
When he arrived at school the morning of Dec. 14, Binder found white cotton, the kind usually found inside a snowman like the one missing, throughout his classroom.
That evidence, combined with the fact that the first “ransom” note included a photo of the snowman inside Binder’s room, makes him the prime suspect.
“I’m being set up,” he said. “This has got my trademark prank written all over it, but I would never steal a snowman.”
From sitting in a wheelchair injured at St. Elizabeth to laying headfirst in a dumpster, the photos offer evidence that time may be running out for the snowman.
One ominous note showed the snowman leaning against a headstone at a local cemetery.
Cook still holds out hope that her fluffy friend will return soon.
Seeing his smile in photo after photo taken by the kidnapper(s), Cook knows the snowman is strong enough to get through this.
“Come home before Christmas,” she said trying not to cry.