On December 25, 2022, a 10-year-old girl named Scarlett Doumato sent a partially-eaten cookie and two half-eaten baby carrots to the Cumberland Police Department.
With a handwritten note on yellow-lined paper, the aspiring investigator asked for a DNA analysis on the bagged-up carrots and cookies she left for Santa and his reindeer. This was to determine if Santa did really visit their home on the night of December 24.
“Dear Cumberland Police Department,” the letter starts. “I took a sample of a cookie and carrots that I left out for Santa and the reindeer on Christmas Eve and was wondering if you could take a sample of DNA and see if Santa is real?”
According to her mother, Scarlett, who is in the fourth grade, loves science and watching investigative television shows. She also learned first-hand about DNA analyses when they DNA tested their rescue dogs, Jett and Onyx.
As soon as the police department received the package, Cumberland Police Chief Matthew Benson instantly instructed his investigative division to forward Scarlet’s evidence to Rhode Island’s Department of Health-Forensic Sciences Unit for DNA analysis.
Chief Benson even stated, “This young lady obviously has a keen sense for truth and the investigative process and did a tremendous job packaging her evidence for submission. We will do our very best to provide answers for her.”
They also released a media statement about the situation and opened a full-scale investigation. The Cumberland police also asked the state to compare bite marks with dental records. They even provided evidence—a surveillance photo of a reindeer in the vicinity to support Santa Claus’ presence.
And on January 24, 2023, a month later after Scarlet sent the samples, the results were released. But unfortunately, The Rhode Island Department of Health states that it couldn’t confirm Santa’s presence in the young girl’s home on Christmas Eve.
The department released a statement saying they found no complete matches to anyone and would need more DNA samples from other known Santa encounters. However, they did find a partial link to a 1947 New York City case centered on 34th Street, referring to the Christmas classic movie “Miracle on 34th Street.
The other “good news” is that the lab found DNA closely matching Rangifer tarandus, a species of reindeer, when testing the half-eaten baby carrots.