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Woman seen jumping into monkey habitat at El Paso Zoo identified and arrested by police

UPDATE, May 26: EL PASO, Texas -- Woman seen in viral video jumping over a barrier into the El Paso Zoo's spider monkey enclosure is arrested and charged with Criminal Trespass.

Police identified the woman as 26-year-old Luz Elizabeth Rae. Rae was arrested Thursday morning and has been booked under a $1,500 bond.

UPDATE, May 24: An El Paso law firm on Monday identified the woman who is seen on video jumping a barrier to gain access to the El Paso Zoo's spider monkey enclosure.

The Lovett Law Firm told ABC-7 that Lucy Rae had been a litigation assistant in the firm's personal injury division.

A firm spokesperson said Rae was fired on Monday after she was recognized as the zoo trespasser; the firm said it didn't condone Rae's actions or have any advanced knowledge of her intentions.

El Paso police indicated the zoo had filed a complaint and the case was under investigation. A spokesman said there was the potential for criminal charges to be brought against the woman.

ORIGINAL REPORT, May 23: EL PASO, Texas -- “Stupid and lucky.” Those are the words the director of the El Paso Zoo, Joe Montisano, used to describe the local women who trespassed into the zoo's spider monkey enclosure over the weekend.  

"These are primates we're talking about, they could do some substantial damage to you,” Mason Kleist, a zookeeper at facility said. “They may be small monkey's but they can take you to the ground if they wanted to.”

He said the woman didn't just put herself in harms way, she also endangered Libby and Sunday, the two spider monkeys, by feeding them.

The monkeys have a specialized diet so her feeding them could cause stomach problems and bowel disruptions. Zookeepers also told ABC-7 that the woman put the monkeys at risk of catching Covid-19.

“Anything that we have they could get as well so Covid is no different,” Kleist said. “We took the necessary steps to prevent them from getting that, so for someone to just go in there and give them food from their hands could just ruin that."

Monkeying around and invading their home also puts a strain on the zookeepers and monkeys' relationship.

“It takes years to build trust with these animals and for someone to come in there for five minutes for a video on Instagram or whatever just ruins years of work,” Kleist said. “It's going to take a long time to get them back to where they were and training."

The zoo director told ABC-7 that they do plan on pressing charges and will look at installing cameras and modifying the fences to ensure this never happens again. 

Crime / Local News / News / Top Stories / Video

Rachel Phillips

JC Navarrete

El Paso native JC Navarrete co-anchors ABC-7’s weekend newscasts and reports during the week.

Jim Parker

Jim Parker is the Director of Digital Content for ABC-7.

Comments

34 Comments

    1. Or that only applies to Democrats and illegal aliens.? The rest of us have to follow their dictator style of rule or face severe penalties.

        1. Here are multiple examples little stevie of wonderland:
          Missouri AG says all St. Louis suspects arrested for looting, rioting have been released: ‘Stunning development’

          1. Anyone that attended the Trump rally in DC will be investigated by all means available. BLM terrorists are released from jail before they can even say racism.

        1. Least racist? Good laugh. But isn’t it true you hate your white half. Racism and hate is part of your liberal identify politics.

  1. Biden supporters. First filling plastic bags with gasoline, wearing masks when alone in a vehicle, and now feeding caged monkies like if they are Biden’s gaged Guatemalans.

    1. She was looking for evidence of voter fraud that Lt Gov Dewhurst said he’d give a million dollars for. Alas, he hasn’t paid anyone a nickel yet.

  2. More drama to this story than meets the eye. The El Paso Times reported that Attorney Mark Davis hired the single mother as a paralegal after Lovett fired her. Then Davis criticized Lovett for the firing stating “Shame on you and your cancel culture attitude”. Eating popcorn.

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