WICHITA, Kansas – After greeting fans of the park for years, Louie the Clown disappeared for almost a decade and was found in the home of a sex offender.
Damian Mayes, a former employee at Joyland, is currently in prison on charges of child sex crimes.
Police say a phone tip led them back to a house they had already investigated.
Hal Ottaway is the son of Harold Ottaway, one of the original founders of Joyland Amusement Park.
Ottaway’s family purchased the famed Louie the Clown.
“Purchased at a trade show I believe in Chicago, probably in the early 50’s,” said Ottaway.
Ottaway had pictures from as far back as the fifties and sixties, depicting Louie playing his famous Wurlitzer organ.
“Louie was very important to the park and the whole atmosphere of going to Joyland, It just provided excitement instantly as you walked into this park,” said Ottaway.
Greg Kite, the President of the Historic Preservation Alliance of Wichita and Sedgwick County came to the park frequently as a child.
“This would be one of the very few marquee pieces of Joyland Amusement Park.” said Kite.
Kite says his organization tried to locate Louie over the years after he went missing, seeing it as a vital piece of the park’s history that had to be returned.
“It was part of us growing up in this community and when that went missing that was part of our heritage that went missing,” said Kite.
The clown will be returned to owner of Joyland, Margaret Nelson Spear.
While the Historic Preservation Alliance would love to take care of Louie, his future will ultimately be up to the owner.