MANLIUS, N.Y. (WSYR) – Faye, a beloved swan who lived in an Upstate New York pond, was killed and eaten over Memorial Day weekend, police say.
Police in Manlius, New York, were notified Monday that Faye and her babies, or cygnets, had gone missing from the Manlius Swan Pond. Officers later received several tips from the community and found two of the babies at the Shop City Plaza shopping center. Additional information helped police find the two other babies at a home in Syracuse.
Faye, however, had been killed and eaten, they said.
Police ultimately arrested three teenagers, a 16-, 17- and 18-year-old, each of whom was charged with grand larceny, criminal mischief, conspiracy and criminal trespassing.
Manlius Police held a press conference at 9 a.m. on Wednesday to discuss the details. They said the three suspects — neighborhood friends who went to high school together — hopped the Manlius Swan Pond fence in the middle of the night during Memorial Day weekend. They then held down and killed Faye at the pond, said police, who added that there was surveillance footage of the incident.
Police confirmed that, after the teens killed Faye, they ate her. Manlius Police Sergeant Ken Hatter dismissed the notion that the teenagers took Faye out of hunger, saying they were not lacking in food.
“They did ultimately consume the swan, but I don’t know if that was more cultural beliefs or not. They didn’t really get into that,” Sgt. Hatter said.
The 18-year-old suspect did have a hunting license; the State Department of Environmental Conservation is investigating.
Two of the suspects, one of whom is an employee at a business in Shop City Plaza, turned themselves in to police. The third teen was taken into custody at a different location.
The 18-year-old was arraigned and released on his own recognizance. His court date is June 15 in the Village of Manlius Court. Court dates for the 16- and 17-year-old are unknown at this time.
Sgt. Hatter said during the conference that the suspects expressed that they believed the swan was just “a very large duck.”
“They did not know that it was not a wild animal, that is was actually owned by the Village of Manlius,” said Sgt. Hatter.
Police said there was conflicting information on whether or not the suspects were trying to sell the baby swans at Shop City Plaza, or had intended to keep them as pets.
The one teen who works at a business in Shop City Plaza said he brought the babies to the store when he went to work the following morning.
The Village of Manlius is currently taking care of the four babies, though they won’t be released into the pond for six more weeks, as they’re still too young.
Manny, Faye’s longtime mate, will also be affected, according to Village of Manlius Mayor Paul Whorral.
“At that point, we will probably remove Manny because of the significance of — they do mate forever — and losing Faye, Manny can become combative. Manny will be removed from the pond and we’ll let the four cygnets grow up and we’ll look. Hopefully two of the cygnets will mate and we’ll get back to the way it used to be,” said Whorral.
There is now talk of cameras being placed around the pond in the future, to be monitored by the village’s public works office.
In any case, Whorral said the tradition of the Manlius Swan Pond will continue.
“As far as the village goes, we’ve had swans for over 100 years and we’re going to continue to have swans. It’s part of this village. It’s a branding we have for this village. If you drive through the village, you’ll see swan emblems and signs and banners everywhere. So we’re going to continue having swans here,” Whorral said.