WEST SALEM, Ill. (WEHT) – An Edwards County family says their 8 year old son’s ewe sheep was stolen in broad daylight. That sheep was set to be their son’s first year 4H project in 2023, and now the family is left with more questions than answers.

“It is very upsetting that someone would do a thing like this,” says Heather Spray of West Salem, Illinois.

Heather her husband Andrew have lived at their Edwards County property for 11 years. During that time, livestock and farming have been a large part of the Spray family’s lives, including their two sons, ages 8 and 10. The family says the Edwards County 4H Fair allows her sons to form a bond with their animals. The Spray’s have two Corriedale sheep and one Corriedale lamb, until the unthinkable happened.

“Someone notified me that we had two sheep loose out in our yard,” recalls Spray. “We live along a state highway, so when I came out, the two sheep that were remaining were in our front yard. And they’re herd animals, so they’re very social and like to be together, they don’t normally stray off by themselves, so I thought it was odd that the third one was missing.”

The Spray’s gathered the two back into their pen and began searching for the missing sheep. During the search, Andrew Spray noticed unusual tire tracks on his property.

“I actually did some measuring on my trailer tires, and no, this is not my pattern,” he says, “not the same pattern as any of my trucks or my car.”

“The gate was wide open, too,” adds Heather, “which I thought was strange at the time, because they shouldn’t be able to get out on their own. So it has led us to believe that someone was here and stole our son’s first year 4H project.”

The missing sheep was also pregnant with a lamb, which was set to be their 8 year old son’s first 4H project in the 2023 Edwards County Fair. The family says their son was in tears at the news, leaving Andrew and Heather confused and upset as to why someone would steal their son’s sheep. Not only will they have to adjust their 4H Fair plans, the Spray’s also say they are on edge following the theft.

“Every little noise,” says Andrew, “I’ve been looking out the window or out the shed door or something wherever I’m at to see if someone’s doing something again.”

The missing sheep is a Corriedale ewe, white faced, and has a bronze tag on it’s right ear with the number “619”. Anyone with information is urged to contact the family at hclod12@hotmail.com.