UPDATE 2/23: The Wichita Police Department is presenting their case to the DA Monday regarding this case. It is not yet known whether they will be trying to charge 1 or 2 people. We’ll have updates as they become available.
WICHITA, Kansas – Louie, the Joyland Clown mascot, was found in a sex offender’s home. Louie went missing more than a decade ago.
Louie disappeared from the Joyland property in 2005 or 2006 but wasn’t reported stolen until 2010. Louie played Joyland’s Wurlitzer organ (see video below).
The Wichita Police Department will pursue charges against two suspects in the case.
Wichita police say officers found the clown Tuesday at a home of 39-year-old Damian Mayes, who is serving a prison sentence for a 2010 conviction for aggravated indecent liberties with a child and aggravated criminal sodomy. Mayes used to build and repair organs at the park. He’s in prison on child sex crimes.
“It was quite a shock, because we had visited that residence before. They didn’t expect us back, they thought it was a done deal, closed, forgotten case, but like I said, through social media and a lot of interest not only in Joyland but the clown in particular, kind of kept it alive,” said Det. Matt Lang, Wichita Police Department. “There’s many articles that said once Louie disappeared, he would never see the sight of day again.”
Lang said a phone tip led to the discovery. Police say Louie was in plain sight when they arrived and after having his identity confirmed by owners.
“The end result is going to be, Louie the clown is going to return to its rightful owner, and I have, I still have the case, I have district attorney’s appointment Monday, and we’re going to pursue charges on the case,” said Lang.
Det. Lang says he has only been working the case about a month when the tip came in. He says he remembered the clown from his childhood.
“There was a lot of interest not only in Joyland, but the clown in particular kinda kept it alive, I didn’t know a whole lot about it and had to do some research myself, and I didn’t realize there was such an interest,” said Det. Lang.
Police say that the nearly 50-year-old clown is worth $10,000. Officials will be filing felony charges against Mayes and one other person to the case.
Joyland in Wichita was open for 55 years until 2004. It closed and briefly reopened.