‘She’s one of our kids’: Spider monkey returns to family after missing for 24 hours

A spider monkey named Kenzie was reunited with her human family after she went missing for more than 24 hours. (Source: WLOX)
Published: Sep. 27, 2023 at 2:40 PM CDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX/Gray News) - A Mississippi family has their monkey back after it went missing for more than 24 hours.

WLOX reports that a spider monkey named Kenzie went missing over the weekend before finding its way home on Monday.

Cameron and Kaitlynn Cuevas adopted Kenzie two years ago when she was just six weeks old. Since then, she has been like another child to them.

“She’s with us every single day,” Cameron Cuevas said. “Just like a baby. All she knows is us, our family, and our three kids. She’s one of our kids.”

The family left Kenzie in the care of another family member when she escaped out of the house and into the nearby woods.

Kaitlynn Cuevas remembered the fear she experienced after she learned about the situation.

“My body went cold,” Kaitlynn Cuevas said. “I got chills and I just cried. It didn’t feel like it was real.”

The couple posted a plea for help on Facebook, and a desperate search began with an outpour of support from friends, family and others in the community.

“The response after we posted it on social media was overwhelming,” Cameron Cuevas said. “We had thermal cameras by dark. There were 50 people down in the woods.”

Among those aiding in the search was Ben Ward, a local hunter who uses dogs to track wounded deer and missing animals.

“I loaded up and went out there,” Ward said. “There was a whole bunch of people already searching and we joined in.”

After 14 hours, the search was called off around 2 a.m. In the morning, Ward went back to the search location in hopes of his dogs picking up a trail.

And he was able to call Cameron Cuevas with the good news.

“Ben calls me and he said, ‘Cameron, we got her. She’s in your mom’s arms right now,’” Cameron Cuevas said.

The Cuevas family says they are thankful for all the help from everyone who showed up.

“It took a team to bring her back home, and we are more than grateful for the team that showed up to bring her home,” Cameron Cuevas said. “She is not going anywhere. If she can’t go, we aren’t going.”