JAY — A former Missouri deputy now uses the skills he honed when he was solving criminal cases to investigate claims of the mysterious Bigfoot creature sightings in Delaware County.
Larry Newman was just one of the speakers on Saturday at the Bigfoot Field Research Organization meeting in Jay. About 30 people were present for the four-hour meeting.
There have been several reports of Bigfoot sightings all over the county, including in Grove and by the Pensacola Dam, he said.
He claimed that Bigfoot inhabits areas where there is good food, clean water and good terrain.
“We have people that make up stuff,” Newman said of reported Bigfoot sightings. “But we know the difference.”
He said there have been a couple of sightings in southern Delaware County within the last two weeks. The problem, he said, is that when members of the Bigfoot researchers group interview witnesses, they are often told that 25 other people have seen the same thing but are embarrassed to talk about it.
Newman, a retired deputy sheriff/detective from Jasper County, Missouri, is a certified crime scene investigator who is trained in interrogation and interviewing techniques.
Those skills — listening, documenting, investigating — “prove or disprove” a person’s claim of spotting Bigfoot, he said.
“We follow-up on the evidence,” Newman said.
Some of the evidence that is tested is hair samples, he said.
“The DNA analysis comes back unknown — no known animal,” Newman said.
Other evidence is footprints, he said.
One sighting was near Bull Holler in the Kenwood area, and another was east of Jay near Colcord.
Newman said the witnesses described the Bigfoot sightings near Colcord as two roughly 4-foot-tall creatures walking on two legs.
Ron Boles, another speaker, said the creature near Kenwood was 6 feet tall and ran across the road in front of witnesses.
Boles shared with the audience how he became involved and showed several YouTube videos of his night-time adventures.
“You will never hear me say it was 100 percent Bigfoot — but you will hear me says it is interesting,” Boles said, referring to the evidence.
Bigfoot is often described as an undiscovered primate, he said.
One question the men said they had never encountered before Saturday’s meeting dealt with interaction between domestic animals and Bigfoot.
No one wants to report a sighting, Boles said, because “no one wants to be the village idiot.”
But he told the crowd, “Don’t let anybody sway or embarrass you.”
One of the highlights of the meeting was a telephone call from Matt Moneymaker, the Bigfoot Field Research Organization founder who appears on the reality television show “Finding Bigfoot.”
Moneymaker spoke to the crowd via speakerphone about some of the sightings.
“Don’t try and kill them — but film them,” he said.
Moneymaker said the creatures like to use sounds to intimidate and typically run in groups of three.
“They adapt and specialize in sneaking around in the dark and grabbing deer,” he said.