Feb 3, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Suspect in missing monkeys case arrested after alleged aquarium visit

One of the emperor tamarins at the Dallas Zoo. Photo: Courtesy of Dallas Zoo

One of the emperor tamarins at the Dallas Zoo. Photo: Courtesy of Dallas Zoo

Police have arrested a man suspected in the disappearance of two emperor tamarin monkeys from the Dallas Zoo after he was spotted at another local animal attraction, officials said Friday.

Driving the news: Davion Irvin, 24, was arrested Thursday “in connection with the case involving emperor tamarin monkeys," Dallas police said in a statement, and was charged with six counts of animal cruelty for non-livestock.

  • Police say they made the arrest after they "received a tip Irvin was seen at the Dallas World Aquarium near animal exhibits."
  • When officers responded, they saw Irvin board a Dallas Area Rapid Transit train and later arrested him in the city's downtown area, police said.
  • Police also charged Irvin with two counts of burglary to a building in connection to the missing monkeys' case, as well as a January incident in which a clouded leopard escaped an enclosure at the Dallas Zoo.
  • Police said Irvin is also "linked" to a case involving langur monkeys. According to AP, the monkeys' enclosure was cut, but they did not escape.

What they’re saying: Dallas World Aquarium spokesperson Waylon Tate said in a statement that Irvin allegedly stopped an employee "to ask questions regarding one of our animals."

  • The worker "immediately recognized Mr. Irvin from prior reporting on the incident involving the suspected theft of two emperor tamarin monkeys,” Tate said.
  • "The employee swiftly notified local authorities, and Mr. Irvin was later apprehended outside of and away from our facility," Tate added.
  • The questions centered around "means and ways to catch animals,” NBC News reports, citing the police affidavit of Irvin’s arrest warrant.

The big picture: The Dallas Zoo has been dealing with a number of strange incidents in the last month, including a clouded leopard escaping an enclosure and the zoo finding an endangered vulture dead with a strange wound, Axios Dallas reports.

  • The two emperor tamarin monkeys went missing earlier this week. They were found Tuesday in an empty home in Lancaster, which is about 20 minutes outside of Dallas.
  • "The investigation into the death of the vulture is ongoing and Irvin is not linked to this case at this time," Dallas police said Friday.

More from Axios:

Denver Zoo told to be on "alert" after Dallas disappearances

Missing monkeys latest in a string of strange events at Dallas Zoo

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