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Originally published January 22, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified January 22, 2008 at 2:01 PM

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Statue stolen from Oregon's Fort Clatsop park

Police are investigating the theft of a 5-foot-tall bronze statue of Sacagawea and her baby Jean Baptiste Charbonneau from the Fort Clatsop...

WARRENTON, Ore. — Police are investigating the theft of a 5-foot-tall bronze statue of Sacagawea and her baby Jean Baptiste Charbonneau from the Fort Clatsop park near the mouth of the Columbia River.

The statue, which stood at the Netul Landing area, disappeared Saturday night or early Sunday, Clatsop County Sheriff's office Sgt. Kristen Hanthorn said.

It had been cut from its mounting bolts. The value of the statue, installed and dedicated in June 2004, is not known.

David Szymanski, the superintendent of Lewis and Clark National Historical Park which includes Fort Clatsop, said theft is a federal offense. He said the thief apparently drove a vehicle around shrubs that blocked access to the statue from the road and backed onto the cement landing near it.

"We think they broke the bronze," he said. The bolts which held the statue were still intact. "You can see the drag marks, where they dragged it to the truck," he said.

The statue is the creation of Jim Demetro of Battle Ground, Wash. It was donated by the Reino and Marilyn Tarkiainen family for the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Marilyn Tarkiainen was saddened at the news. "That's so unfortunate," she said. She grew up in Mandan, N.D., where Sacagawea joined Lewis and Clark's expedition. Fort Clatsop includes a replica of the fort where the explorers spent the winter of 1805-1806 near the mouth of the Columbia River.

A value of $15,000 was mentioned when it was donated but Marilyn Tarkiainen said Demetro's work has gained value in recent years.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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