Three teens have been arrested after they allegedly stole a swan treasured by their community in upstate New York before killing and eating the beloved bird over Memorial Day weekend, authorities said.
Police in Manlius, a southeast suburb of Syracuse, first sounded the alarm earlier this week after Faye, one of the town’s most iconic residents, and four of her baby swans, known as cygnets, were killed. reported missing after a Memorial Day parade.
It was unclear when exactly Faye and her family went missing, but police said they were reviewing camera footage to get to the bottom of the disappearance.
«Unfortunately, the investigation led to the discovery that Faye…had been murdered over the weekend,» the Malnius city police department said in an update on Tuesday.
Manlius Mayor Paul Whorrall revealed on Wednesday that the mother swan had been «consumed».
“It’s sad to say, but that’s what they did,” Whorrall said, according to The Associated Press.
Police Sgt. Manlius. Ken Hatter said the bird had been returned to the home of an aunt of the suspect, where it was prepared and cooked, according to the news agency.
The four swans were found safe and were under the care of a biologist tasked with overseeing the health and welfare of Manlius’s swans, police said.
The arrests of three teenagers in the alleged killing of swans came after a concerned citizen saw two baby swans in a store in nearby Salina and called authorities, Hatter said.
One of the suspects who worked at the store confessed to taking the birds along with two other teenagers, he said.
The three teens were arrested Tuesday and now face charges including grand theft and criminal mischief in connection with the incident, Hatter said.
Two of the suspects, ages 16 and 17, were released to their parents because they are minors, police said, according to the AP. The third, who is 18, is awaiting arraignment, they said. Information about his lawyers was not available.
Swan hunting is legal in several US states, but New York is not one of them.
Manlius has been known for its swans for over a century, and its swan pond has long served as a local landmark.
“Swans have been a part of this town for over 100 years,” Whorrall said. «We are known for our swans.»
Faye and her partner, Manny, had called the Manlius Swan Pond their home for more than a decade after it was donated by biologist and self-described «swan guru» Michael Bean.
joseph cradduck and The Associated Press contributed.