A donkey that was found wandering alone near 120th Avenue NE and became a viral sensation after being photographed in a Norman police car in 2015 has died.
Normanite Robin Strader, who has also been the caretaker for the famous donkey, known as Squishy, for about the last four years, confirmed via Facebook that he died Tuesday morning.
"I'm heartbroken! My little man passed away this morning. Thank you to everyone who has reached out to us and prayed for him. We are unsure as to the exact cause of what happened, he just couldn't fight anymore," the post read.
Strader said Squishy fought up until the end.
"Squishy is still fighting," she said on Monday. "Ultrasounds will be done today. He is very weak but wants to be touched and held. This will be a long process but as long as he isn't giving up and continues to fight to live I will fight with him."
Norman Police Officer Kyle Canaan responded to a call of a loose donkey around 8 a.m. Dec. 1, 2015 in the 8100 block of 120th Avenue NE.
Strader offered to keep the donkey on her land, which was a few blocks away, until the owner was found. However, she couldn't fit him into her car, so Canaan offered to transport Squishy.
With some persuading and treats, the Squishy got into Canaan's police cruiser, heading toward what would later become his permanent home.
A day later, Squishy's then owner claimed him.
A year after claiming him, Squishy's owner was looking to sell him, so Strader purchased him with funds that were donated through a GoFundMe she had setup.
NPD investigation leads to arrest
The Norman Police Department arrested 40-year-old Michael Pruitt on Friday, after he allegedly began communicating in a sexual manner with a detective, operating in an undercover capacity, who identified themselves as an underage female from the Norman area.
During the course of the conversation, police said Pruitt offered to pay $100 for sex, even after knowing the individual was underage. The detective arranged a meeting with who Pruitt thought was the juvenile. After arriving at the arranged meeting place, Pruitt was taken into custody without incident.
Pruitt was booked into the Cleveland County Detention Center on one count of lewd or indecent proposals or acts to a child and one count of soliciting sexual conduct or communication with a minor by the use of technology.
This arrest is the third in two weeks as Norman police work proactive investigations into persons involved in online crimes against children. This investigation was conducted with training obtained from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program (ICAC).
The following people were charged with felony counts in the Cleveland County Court Clerk's Office:
• Cardwell, Tamihus Dwayne, 17, was charged with first-degree robbery with a firearm (youthful offender) and possessing a firearm after adjudication (youthful offender).
• Pruitt, Michael Allen, 40, was charged with enticing a child under 16 into a secluded place.
• Barker, Daniel Arville, 32, was charged with larceny from a retailer.
• York, Shelly Lee, 45, faces charges of maintaining a dwelling where drugs are being kept, harboring a fugitive from justice, possessing a controlled dangerous substance-misdemeanor, and possessing/selling drug paraphernalia-misdemeanor.