Close to ten missing cows found in Haskell County investigation

Posted at 5:36 PM, Feb 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-10 10:50:47-05

KINTA, Okla. -- Only two weeks ago, Ralph Carpenter was making a mental note to fix the locks on the 500 acres that house close to 80 cows.

He realized some might be missing and waited to report it to officers. By the time he did, the Haskell County Sheriff's Office was already investigating.

"It took us a while before we actually knew what was gone. When you just walk in and have like 30 head in there and say four is gone... you don't know immediately what is gone," Carpenter said.

Four cows were taken valued at about $5,000.

"Most of the time what we do is we respond to calls and have to work these cases backwards. In this case we were able to learn that cattle were missing before the rancher knew his cattle were missing and we were one step ahead of the game because of that," Sheriff Tim Turner said.

This came from a tip, and two ranches ultimately reported a loss. Five cows were taken from a ranch across the river from Carpenter's property. Turner believes they were being traded for drugs, which he said is a growing problem in Oklahoma.

"With the way laws are with drug offenses and things like that, they're doing whatever they can to find that resource and find that money to get the need they have for their habit," Turner said.

Special agents with the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture helped with two weeks of interviews. By Friday seven of the nine were found: some at an auction and others on a property in Pittsburg County.

Carpenter is in his 80s and tended to cattle for almost 70 years. He said an incident like this isn't stopping him.

"Life's gonna go on. We would have took the loss and I would have stayed in the business and regretted it but I would not have gotten out or anything," Carpenter said.
Five total arrests are expected. One man is currently in custody for an outstanding cattle rustling warrant.

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