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Police make arrest in monkeys' disappearance from Dallas Zoo

Davion Dwight Irvine faces six counts of animal cruelty in the monkey case and was taken to the Dallas County Jail on Friday.

Published: February 3, 2023 12:04pm

Updated: February 3, 2023 1:03pm

Police is Texas said Friday they have arrested a 24-year-old male in connection to the emperor tamarin monkeys that went missing earlier this week from the Dallas Zoo. 

The suspect has been identified as Davion Dwight Irvin, whom police reportedly arrested Thursday near the  Dallas World Aquarium

Irvine faces six counts of animal cruelty in the monkey case and was taken to the Dallas County Jail.

The two monkeys were discovered missing Monday from their enclosure, and their habitat had been "intentionally compromised," said zoo officials, according to CNN

The Dallas Police Department said a preliminary probe found the habitat had been intentionally cut open and that investigators think the animals were intentionally taken from their enclosure.

The incident occurred when the zoo was closed to the public for inclement weather and marks the fourth time this month the zoo has discovered potential tampering with its animals or their enclosures. 

The monkeys were found by police at an empty church in Lancaster, Texas, according to local TV station WFAA. The monkeys were in a closet and the temperature in the building was 37 degrees Fahrenheit.

Church members recognized Irvin, who would sometimes attend services, the pastor's daughter, Tonya Thomas, told WFAA

Thomas also said police found chickens, birds, cats and other animals when they investigated the prior burglaries. 

The series of incidents at the zoo started Jan. 13 when a leopard disappeared and includes the death last week of a vulture under "unusual" circumstances, zoo officials also say.

The clouded leopard, Nova, went missing after her cage was “intentionally cut.” Dallas police are investigating Irvin’s possible involvement in the leopard's disappearance.

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