BOISE -- Boise Police investigators say they have made an arrest in connection the death of a patas monkey at Zoo Boise.
Michael Watkins, 22, Weiser, was arrested just before 2 p.m. Monday and is currently in the Washington County Jail. He is charged with two felonies - burglary and grand theft. Police say Watkins does have some injuries, however, how he got them is still under investigation.
Police have identified a second suspect, but he has not been arrested or charged with a crime.
Zoo Boise officials tells us the monkey was brutally beaten and left for dead early Saturday morning.
Police say they can't release many details as to how the intruders broke in or why. We do know that the monkey died of excessive blunt force trauma to his head and upper body.
I speak for many of us in the police department and the community who were angered and outraged over this senseless crime. The loss of the patas monkey has touched many lives, including our officers and investigators, said Boise Police Chief Mike Masterson. Officers spent countless hours this weekend and today tracking and developing leads. As usual, it was a combination of a citizen tip and good police work that led us to the arrest in this case.
Zoo Boise Executive Director Steve Burns tells us there had been two male patas monkeys inside the exhibit until Saturday. He is pleased that police have made an arrest in this case. He thanked the community for their support.
Flowers stand just outside the exhibit where that monkey entertained so many over the years. Burns says, He was just a beautiful, beautiful animal, good size, two and half feet tall, 35 pounds, beautiful coloration.
Burns showed us where he found the animal, groaning and barely alive. It was about 20 yards form the enclosed exhibit where the monkey was kept.
Police tell us a security guard at the zoo spotted two intruders about 4:30 a.m. Saturday. They ran and were not found.
Both visitors and staff still can't believe one of the zoo's favorite animals is gone.
The staff and volunteers took it very hard on Saturday, there were tears and confusion, there was anger, disbelief, said Burns.
We asked whether the doors were locked or if there were any signs of forced entry into either the zoo or the exhibit, but police cannot release those details.
Meanwhile, Burns says they will be taking a closer look at their security.
We think our security is good, I've been here for 15 years, and we've never had something like this happen, of course, when it does you are going to use it as a chance to review everything you do, said Burns.
Police say a gray ball cap left near the primate exhibit is believed to have belonged to the suspect.
As for the other patas monkey at the zoo, we're told he will not be able to live alone for long since monkeys are such social animals. The zoo is now looking to get another patas monkey for the exhibit, or else they will have to send the one they have to another location.
Boise Police say their investigation is ongoing. Several people have been questioned who provided information about the crime. The investigation will be turned over to the Ada County prosecutor, and more charges are possible.