SMITHFIELD, Cache County – It started as a report for a missing child, but he was found after police got a report of a goat that had chased a teenage boy up a tree.
He may have a villainous name, but 1 ½-year-old Voldemort is a nice goat, his owner said.
“He’s really happy and plays with the kids,” Marissa Benson said. “I’ve never had him chase my kids.”
She and her two kids have owned Voldemort since he was two days old. He is a fainting goat, which means he’s narcoleptic and will fall asleep when scared. But Tuesday morning he put the fear in someone else.
Fourteen-year-old Jaxon Gessel was on his early morning paper route when the chain holding Voldemort broke. The goat made its way across Smithfield's Main Street under cover of darkness.
Gessel said the early morning dark made it difficult to make out the creature as it approached him near 300 South and Main Street. He didn’t think much of it, figuring it was a dog because he sees dogs all the time on his route.
“Then it made a weird noise, kind of like a grunting noise,” he said. The shadowy figure started coming at him. “I’m like, ‘What the heck is that?’”
He said Voldemort head-butted him off his bike. He tried to get away by jumping back on his bike, but the goat tackled him.
“It just freaked me out when it stood up on its hind legs and just wrapped its front legs around me and pulled me off,” he said.
The teenager took shelter in a tree. Whenever someone would walk by, the goat would chase after them.
“It had like a collar on, so I grabbed it by the collar to keep it off of the other people because I didn’t want anybody else getting hurt,” he said.
The boy was able to get out of the tree, but was chased right back up. He was up in the tree for about an hour when two little girls walked by and were freaked out by Voldemort, he said.
Jaxon said that brought new urgency to get down out of the tree. He grabbed the goat and chased it down for a block or two.
Meantime, Smithfield police officer Brandon Muir was working a missing child case called in by Gessel’s parents. He hadn’t come home from his paper route and was about 90 minutes overdue. That’s when Muir got a call about a boy and a goat.
When Muir arrived, he said the goat was overly friendly. “It jumped on me a few times,” he said. “But he wasn’t that hard to catch.”
No one was hurt, and Voldemort is back to causing trouble at home.
Gessel said it was a strange morning, one his classmates won't soon let him forget.
He said, "Everybody, they're all, 'Hey, goat boy!' I'm like, 'Hey, guys.'"
He said faced with Voldemort in the dark, people might react the same way. "People are just like, 'Why are you scared of goats? I'm like that was a freaky goat. I think it's like possessed or something."
Benson said she was sorry for what happened to Jaxon. "I feel horrible that the whole thing happened,” she said. But both Jaxon and Voldemort returned safely to their homes.
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company