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Culpeper mystery solved as two men turn themselves in to sheriff, admit to leaving dead Holstein outside county offices.
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Date published: 1/29/2004
On the morning of the cow drop-off, Josh Colvin said he got a reply in the mail from County Administrator Frank Bossio.
In that letter, dated Jan. 13, Bossio, although he defended the Animal Control employee, confirmed the initial call and offered Colvin an apology if the county officer had offended the farmer.
But he was adamant that the county would pay only $75 for removal and burial of the carcass.
"Right then, I decided what I was going to do," said Josh Colvin, who admitted to being the brains of the dead-cow outfit.
So, that night with his Uncle Joe in Pennsylvania and the rest of his family asleep, he and Wyatt dug up the dead cow, loaded it onto a truck and made their midnight delivery.
"I figured it was the best way to get our message across," he said.
The two young men--neither of whom has been in any kind of trouble before--said they rode back by the parking lot out of curiosity after they washed their truck. They even came to town the next day and drove by several times to see if the carcass was still there. It was.
It was not until Monday morning that Deputy Clerk Peggy Crane, coming to work for a few minutes on a holiday, discovered the cow and reported the incident.
Sheriff's Office investigators had a pretty good idea who was behind the dead-cow caper, but had no evidence. No one had seen the middle-of-the-night drop-off.
The bovine carcass, which Hart said had been dead about two weeks, was sent to a fertilizer-rendering plant the morning it was discovered (at a cost of $50 to the county).
It was then that Hart personally intervened and talked to the family. After discussing their plight with an attorney, the Colvin boys decided to come forward, in part to protect Hart's image.
"I felt bad because the sheriff was getting a bad rap," said Josh Colvin. "Everyone thinks Animal Control is under the Sheriff's Department but it's not. It was not Hart's fault, it was Animal Control's fault."
Hart said he also wanted to make it clear that the county administrator and the Board of Supervisors, not his office, are in charge of Animal Control.
The Colvin boys are scheduled to appear Feb. 5 in General District Court, where they are expected to plead guilty.
Meanwhile, Josh still wants his burial money from the county--even if the cow was exhumed.
"I'm going to revise my bill down to $300," said Josh Colvin, who added that he plans to go before the Board of Supervisors with his Animal Control complaints.
Having become folk heroes since their beef delivery, the boys admit the dead-cow caper had one drawback.
"The worse thing is we couldn't tell anybody," said Wyatt Colvin.
"They are fine people," Hart said of the two men.
To reach DONNIE JOHNSTON: DJohn40330@aol.com