Strang, NE- When police detectives surveyed the scene of a tragic double homicide and child abduction case that rocked the small town of Strang, Nebraska last week, they knew that time was of the essence. Every minute that passed without finding missing 3-year-old Gert McDonald decreased the likelihood that he would be found alive, if at all. The search for clues was exhaustive, as was the search for the kidnapped toddler.
For several days that search came up empty, until investigators decided to review pictures of the crime scene one final time. They were shocked to discover that they had missed one very important detail. On the shelf overlooking where most of Tim and Ronaldolina McDonald were discovered by Ronaldolina's personal trainer Sven at three o'clock that morning, was an Elf on the Shelf.
"We knew the rules going into the interrogation," Lead investigator Shake Billings explained. "They can't be touched and they can't speak or move until everyone in the house is asleep. Their job is to watch and listen. But we weren't going to just sit there with little Gert still missing!"
But Clancy, the McDonald's Elf on the Shelf, followed those rules without any sign of budging and the detectives finally gave up. "We tried everything we could think of, even advanced techniques like hot cocoa boarding." Adding to the tragic nature of the crime was that Mr. McDonald had been scheduled to work overnight and shouldn't have even been there. Another mysterious aspect to this troubling case.
With Clancy refusing to cooperate, investigators still haven't given up on finding Gert and solving his parent's murders. Elves on Shelves, once adopted and given a name, receive the gift of Christmas magic and can fly to Santa's workshop each night to tell him about what happened that day. Billings is counting on this. "If that little spying bastard told Santa anything, we need to know. And I'll find that jolly son of a bitch if it's the last thing I do!"
I'm an old school reporter whose days of scoring double trucks are well behind him. But that doesn't mean I don't know a good story when I see one. I've worked for small town rags and big city broadsheets and everything in between.