Spider monkey returns to family after going missing for 24 hours

Monday, a spider monkey named Kenzie was reunited with her human family after she went missing for more than 24 hours.
Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 6:40 PM CDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Monday, a spider monkey named Kenzie was reunited with her human family after she went missing for more than 24 hours.

Cameron and Kaitlynn Cuevas adopted Kenzie two years ago when she was just six weeks old. Since then, she has been like another child to them.

“She’s with us every single day,” said Cameron. “Just like a baby. All she knows is us, our family and our three kids. She’s one of our kids.”

When the Cuevases left Kenzie in the care of Cameron’s mom, the monkey escaped out of the house and into the nearby woods. Kaitlynn remembered the fear she experienced after she learned about the situation.

“My body went cold,” she explained. “I got chills and I just cried. It didn’t feel like it was real. There’s no way.”

The couple posted a plea for help on Facebook, and a desperate search began with an outpour of support from friends, family and strangers.

“The response after we posted it on social media was overwhelming,” stated Cameron. “We had thermal cameras by dark. There was 50 people down in the woods.”

Among those aiding in the search was Ben Ward, a local hunter who uses dogs to track wounded deer and missing animals.

“I loaded up and went out there,” said Ward. “There was a whole bunch of people there already searching. We joined in with them and brought the dogs to the woods. They are unbelievable. Their ability is amazing. Their nose, from what I’ve read, is 10,000 times better than a human’s.”

After 14 hours, the search was called off around 2 a.m. At daybreak, Ward went back to the search location in hopes of his dogs picking up a trail.

Then, Cameron received a call.

“Ben called me and said, ‘Cameron, we got her. She’s in you mom’s arms right now,’” said Cameron.

Kenzie found her way back to Cameron’s mom’s home, where she went missing 24 hours earlier. The Cuevases say they are thankful for all the help from everyone who showed up.

“It took a team to bring her back home, and we are more than grateful for the team that showed up to bring her home,” Cameron said. “She ain’t going anywhere no more. If she can’t go, we ain’t going.”

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