Both tortoises missing from Garfield Park located, officials say

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Two tortoises missing from Garfield Park have been found, officials say.

Indy Parks confirmed that Chumley and Proximo have been returned. Both have been residents of the conservatory for the last five years and are used for educational programs. When school groups come in, they learn about the tortoises' shells and how they eat. They live in the conservatory's greenhouse.

"It's not unimaginable to think that maybe they did just kind of go on a tour of their own, their own little adventure, but we're glad that that adventure led them back here to the conservatory," Indy Parks spokesperson Ronnetta Spalding said.

Indy Parks said they noticed several posts on social media that led them to Proximo. They reached out to the person who found her and arranged for her return.

"We thought it was a lost pet or somebody or somebody dumped it or somebody stole it but we knew it wasn't just a random, you don't find those turtles around here," Sweela and Larry Mundy said.

The pair said last week while sitting outside their home near the park, they spotted a woman walking a tortoise in a wagon. They said the woman told them her kids found it in the park. They told her they would make sure to find where it belonged, and found someone in Carmel able to take care of the turtle. They posted a photo to Facebook, and soon learned about the park's missing tortoise.

As for Chumley, IFD returned the tortoise after someone dropped him off at Station No. 29 near the conservatory.

"I was kind of surprised," IFD Lt. Jimmy Hodges said.

Hodges said they have kept their eyes out for the turtle, but a grandfather arrived at the station during lunch.

"He said I have a tortoise and he explained that they were having an event in the park yesterday and his grand kids had found a tortoise and really wanted to take it home and he told them that they could absolutely not take it home, that this was a tortoise that probably belonged somewhere," Lt. Hodges said. "So when he was unpacking his vehicle this morning underneath the tent and chairs and other items that they had, the tortoise was in his vehicle in a box and that's what he told us."

Indy Parks officials previously said they just wanted the tortoises returned and would accept them, no questions asked. They aren't sure if they managed to escape on their own or if someone took them.

"We are beyond thrilled to have them back home," said Ronnetta Spalding with Indy Parks. "Again, we thank the Indy community and our park staff for their efforts."

For more information on the Garfield Park Conservatory, click here.

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