Crime

Straw cow was destroyed in a fire at this Missouri farm. Police are investigating

A straw cow that was set ablaze at a Missouri pumpkin patch and corn maze is being investigated by police.

The flames seen coming off the black-and-white painted cow made of hay bales were reported around 7:45 p.m. Friday at Autumn Acres, a newly opened family farm owned and operated by Stephen and Talia Miller in Butler, nearly 70 miles south of Kansas City.

By the time Stephen Miller rushed over to the farm to see what was happening, the nose of the straw cow was burning about 7 feet off the ground, he said. The farm, which is open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays, was closed at the time of the incident.

Fire crews and police arrived at the scene at 1300 S. Main St. The fire was contained and put out after a little over an hour, but the cow could not be saved.

“To whoever took it upon themselves to light our straw cow on fire this evening, your moment of fun cost us a great deal of time and money,” Autumn Acres said in a Facebook post Friday night. “Our 3-year-old son got to watch it burn this evening. Tonight we got to share with him why people like you do things like this.”

A cash reward was being offered for information leading to those responsible, it added.

Since the fire, Stephen Miller said Saturday his family has seen a “huge outpouring of support,” with new hay bales and supplies being dropped off, enough to resurrect the farm’s straw cow — and maybe add a little more.

“Very upset about last night,” Miller said, “but the community’s response has been a blessing.”

The Butler Police Department posted on Facebook that it’s seeking the public’s help in locating the individual or individuals involved in setting the fire.

Anyone with information about the fire is asked to call police at 660-679-6131.

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Kaitlyn Schwers covers breaking news and crime at night for The Kansas City Star. Originally from Willard, Mo., she spent nearly three years reporting in Arkansas and Illinois before returning to Missouri and joining The Star in 2017.
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