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Report on Exotic Animal Escape Released

Map of Ohio highlighting Muskingum County

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Days before he released fifty-six exotic animals on his farm and shot himself, Terry Thompson was agitated over the departure of his wife and his impending confinement.

He also reportedly said that he “had a plan.”

The report, released Tuesday by the Muskingum County sheriff’s office to the Zanesville Times Recorder, includes statements from deputies who responded to the emergency call. It also includes an interview with John Moore, the last person to have seen Thompson alive. Their meeting occurred the night before Mr. Thompson took his life.

The October 18 incident touched off a flurry of questions about how exotic animals are cared for on private farms and what should be the regulatory role of the state.

Law enforcement officials ultimately killed forty-eight of the animals. The remaining few were captured and taken to a zoo.

The report doesn’t explain why Thompson decided to free the animals, but it does offer the clearest picture to date of the events leading up to the tragedy.

Mr. Moore, the caretaker on the farm, told investigators that Mr. Thompson said he had received a disturbing letter from his wife.

Mr. Thompson reportedly said he “had a plan,” and that M. Moore would know about it “when it happens.”

Mr. Thompson was also concerned about being confined to the farm, a condition of his release from prison September 30. He had been convicted of possessing illegal firearms.

Five days before his death, Thompson met a federal parole officer, who told investigators that Thompson was “distraught” over the yearlong confinement.

The final report also includes the responding officers’ findings the night they arrived at the farm and tried to contain the animals, which fled through opened doors and cages.

The roaming animals made it impossible to approach Thompson’s Mr. body, which investigators said was dragged twenty feet by an animal he’d freed.

Via The L.A. Times.

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