Arrest Made In Case Of Missing Dallas Zoo Monkeys

By Dani Medina

February 3, 2023

Photo: Dallas County Jail, Dallas Police Department

An arrest has been made in the case of the two monkeys that went missing from the Dallas Zoo earlier this week.

Davion Irvin was arrested Thursday (February 2) and faces five counts of animal cruelty non-livestock, NBC DFW reports. The 24-year-old was booked into the Dallas County Jail where he remains on $25,000 bond.

Irvin's arrest comes days after the Dallas Police Department released a photo of an unidentified man who was potentially involved in the missing monkeys case. Earlier this week, police received a tip which led to the recovery of the monkeys, but authorities still hadn't spoken with the man in the picture at the time. It wasn't until Thursday when police received another tip that the man, now ID'ed as Irvin was spotted near the animal exhibits at the Dallas World Aquarium.

When officers arrived at the aquarium, Irvin was seen getting on a DART train, the news outlet reported. He was eventually picked up in the 1400 block of Pacific Avenue where he was taken to the Jack Evans Police Headquarters for questioning.

The investigation into all Dallas Zoo cases — which involves a missing clouded leopard, the suspicious death of an endangered vulture and a hole found in a separate monkey enclosure — remains ongoing. The zoo announced it would be improving its security measures as a result.

"Although our security program had worked in the past, it has become obvious that we need to make significant changes. Words cannot express the frustration our team is feeling," the zoo said in a statement, FOX 4 reports. Part of these changes include increased security patrols, more overnight staff, additional fencing and new surveillance cameras added to "challenging" areas.

"Our security personnel, staff, and volunteers all already undergo background checks. The Zoo is evaluating our internal policies and identifying additional partners with whom we will work to further strengthen security measures to protect the Zoo, our animals, our staff, our guests, and our community," the zoo added.

As you'll recall, two emperor tamarin monkeys were reported missing from their habitat at the Dallas Zoo on Monday. They were found the next day inside a closet of an abandoned building in Lancaster. The Dallas Zoo said the two monkeys, named Bella and Finn, "were so happy to snuggle into their nest sack," the zoo wrote on Facebook alongside a photo of the monkeys. Bella and Finn did lose a "bit of weight," but there are no signs of injury. They also started eating and drinking "almost immediately" after the completion of their health exams on Tuesday night. "We will continue to monitor them closely, but for now, we're so glad they are safe and back with us," the Dallas Zoo wrote.

Emperor tamarin monkeys, Bella and Finn, were so happy to snuggle into their nest sack here at the Zoo last night! Our...

Posted by Dallas Zoo on Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Bella and Finn won't be returning to their habitat at the Lacerte Family Children's Zoo "because they were taken off-grounds." The zoo said "they will need to clear a quarantine period before they are reintroduced to their Zoo habitat."

Dallas Police, with the help of the Lancaster Police Department, located the two missing tamarin monkeys from the Dallas...

Posted by Dallas Police Department on Tuesday, January 31, 2023

"We cannot thank the Dallas Police Department enough for their quick response and assistance in locating the tamarins. We are pleased that video from our surveillance cameras – which we shared with Dallas PD – seems to have been critical in generating a tip that led to the recovery of the tamarins," the zoo said.

Dallas police located the two monkeys inside an abandoned house which was reportedly riddled with animal feces, a room containing pigeons, a water jug containing dead fish and several domestic cats. Police also said the monkeys' enclosure was cut open, so they released a photo Tuesday of a potential suspect who could be involved in the missing monkeys case.

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