This Little Boy Lost His Stuffed Cheetah, So He Wrote To The Police For Help

The Rhode Island State Police was more than happy to oblige.

When your mother tells you not to do something, there's usually a reason. But, when 4-year-old Will Ketcher defied his mom's warnings and insisted on hanging his beloved stuffed cheetah out the car window, he learned that mother knows best the hard way. Roger, the cheetah, fell from the window while the Brooklyn family was traveling along the interstate in Rhode Island. Instead of giving up hope, however, Will decided to write a letter to the Rhode Island State Police pleading for the safe return of his best friend.

"Dear Rhode Island State Highway Patrol," the letter read. "I lost my Roger and I really want him back. Can you please find him? I love him ... Roger is a cheetah. He fell out of the car window on Interstate 95... around West Greenwich. He is about 12 inches long. Thank you for all your hard work, and for keeping us safe."

Corporal Lawens Fevrier, who was the first to read Will's letter, was so moved by the boy's message that he knew something had to be done to rectify the situation and give Will the happy ending he deserved. After all, with sons of his own at home, Fevrier was well aware of how important stuffed animal friends can be.

"I know how important it is for them to sleep with their blankets or stuffed animal," Fevrier told  CBS-affiliated television station WPRI. "We were all 4 years old at one time in our lives." 

Stephanie Ketcher, Will's mother, told WPRI that the family never expected to hear back from the state police. "The letter was never designed to be effective," she said. According to Ketcher, the family had been visiting Will's aunt at the University of Rhode Island when Will decided to hang Roger out the window. That's when the stuffed cheetah flew out onto the highway.

"That instantaneous reaction of 'I told you not to do that, I knew he was going to fly out the window,'" Ketcher said. "That quickly went away when I looked in the rear-view mirror and saw his sweet, sad face crumple up."

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Upon returning home to Brooklyn, Will's dad suggested they write a letter to the Rhode Island State Police in an attempt to rescue the beloved doll. Ketcher said they were inspired by the scene in the Charlie Brown comic strip where Linus, desperate to recover his lost blanket after Lucy used it as a kite, puts an ad in the local paper asking for help finding it. However, while the "Air Rescue Service" eventually finds the blanket floating over the Pacific Ocean in the comic strip, Will wasn't as lucky. Though the police did send out a search and rescue team, they were unable to recover Roger.

But Fevrier and his colleagues couldn't allow Will's story to end on a sad note, so they did the next best thing: they sent Will a new stuffed cheetah in Roger's place, along with a note:

"On behalf of the Rhode Island State Police, we are so sorry that Roger was lost," the note read. "We spent days looking for him on the highway. We couldn't find him. We did find another cheetah walking around the highway. We stopped to talk to him. He said that he was looking for a new home in the Big Apple and we thought of you. Before we sent him to you we had to make him a Cheetah Trooper. The first cheetah trooper in the history of the Rhode Island State Police."

"We take every case serious, whether it's a crime scene or a letter from Will," Fevrier explained to WPRI. "We just wanted to make him happy."

"He went right along with the narrative that we had created for Will," Ketcher said. "Everybody we have told this story to is moved almost to tears. Some actually to tears."

"There's so much negative stuff going on in the world, we're inundated with it... it's so refreshing to have something like this happen that just reminds you that there are really good people out there," she added.

Now Will and his appropriately named friend, Rhody, can continue the adventures he once shared with Roger. However, this new duo will likely be a bit more cautious so as to prevent another tragic loss in the future.

Cover image via ChiccoDodiFC / Shutterstock

(H/T: WPRI)

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