Sergeant Goad solves Bigfoot disappearance
January 5, 2011
For several years, the eight-foot-tall Bigfoot
sculpture waved to those passing by the home of
Robert McRay on Highway 95 near the Mt. Hall
Junction. When the former "Conan the Adventurer"
actor and master sculptor returned to
California, he left "Biggie" in the care of
Kathryn Ray, poised outside her iconic Good
Grief Grill and Grocery near Eastport, where
people from around the world stopped regularly
to have their picture taken with the friendly
looking monster. On Tuesday night, one
late-night group of passers-by went a little too
far, and as a result, one of them is now sitting
One man is in
jail after a cBoundary County icon,
Biggie, was destroyed at the
Good Grief Grill & Store.
Kathryn noticed that the statue she calls
"Biggie" was missing when she went to the Good
Grief early Wednesday morning. The base and two
feet were there, but the rest of him was gone.
Before calling the sheriff's office, though, she
had other business to attend to; her dog
wouldn't abide missing their regular morning
walk up a remote Forest Service road in Addy.
It was on that snowy road, she said, that she
came across a young man and woman standing
outside a red Dodge Durango truck with
Washington plates, hopelessly stuck and
partially hanging over an embankment. Not
suspecting that they had anything to do with the
mysterious disappearance, she gave them a ride
to a home near Good Grief so they could call for
At 8:10 a.m., she called 911, and sheriff's
deputy Sergeant Bobby Goad was sent out to look
into the matter.
According to Goad's report in court records, he
arrived at Good Grief a short time later and,
after talking with Kathryn, went to where she'd
told him she met up with the two, taking along
her brother, retired sheriff's deputy Tim Day,
who knew the area, along with him. He found
Darrell L. Curtiss Jr., who had celebrated his
22nd birthday the previous evening, his
girlfriend and his parents working to free the
and artist Robert McRay
Goad quickly noticed grains of blue foam around
the pickup, and flat out asked those there if
they'd had anything to do with the theft of
Almost immediately, Curtiss fessed up, saying
that he and two male friends had been riding
around and drinking at about 10 p.m. when they
spotted Biggie and decided that they, too would
like some pictures. Curtiss told Goad that he
tried to hang off the sculpture, but that it
immediately broke off at the ankles.
With Bigfoot lying on the ground, he said, he
panicked, and instead of leaving a slightly
shorter Bigfoot lying in the lot, broke it into
pieces and loaded him into the pickup, then went
looking for a suitable place to ditch the body.
The remote Forest Service road seemed a good
idea at the time.
"They had the unfortunately luck to drive up the
Forest Service road I walk my dog on every day,"
Confession in hand, Goad asked Curtiss where
Bigfoot was, and Curtiss led him a short
distance away to a heavily treed area where all
the dismembered parts of Biggie, save a single
finger, were found, recovered and returned to
the rightful owners.
After disposing of the evidence, Curtiss said,
the three men got stuck trying to turn around.
His two companions hiked out, and he called his
girlfriend, the owner of the truck, who joined
him, and with him spent a restless night trying
to free the pickup.
After Kathryn found them and gave them a ride,
he called his parents, who drove out to help
free the truck.
Curtiss insisted that he was solely responsible
for Bigfoot's dismemberment and theft, and was
charged with grand theft, a felony, for taking
the body parts away, and for malicious injury to
property, a misdeameanor, for breaking the body
into parts. He remains in custody at the
Boundary County Jail in lieu of posting $5,000
Kathryn has been trying to reach Bigfoot's
sculptor, McRay, ever since the theft, both to
let him know what befell his creation and to see
if there's any hope the piece of art can be
restored. She's broken hearted, she said,
because she was only baby sitting Biggie, but
the six months McRay expected to be away
stretched much longer, and she and Biggie became
"I don't really see how Biggie can be fixed,"
she said, "but Bob is pretty amazing, so I do
center, with some of his famous
After a childhood growing up in Northwest hippie
communes, he joined the Navy at the age of 17,
served honorably and well, then attended the Ron
Baille School of Broadcasting in Washington,
Moving to Southern California, and by then a
world-class body builder, he became a trainer to
stars, produced movie trailers for
Disney/Touchstone, served as casting director
for numerous projects in film and television,
and acted in motion pictures including "Legend
of the Phantom Rider," "The Mob" and "Double
In the late 1990s, he co-starred in the
22-episode TV series "Conan the Adventurer,"
playing Zzeben, Conan's mute and loyal sidekick.
For that role, he created his own unique form of
sign language so as to reflect the imaginary era
during which Conan reigned.
After purposely stepping out of the acting
limelight, he turned his attention to a craft
that he'd admired from the time, at age 5, he
enjoyed his first brush in front of the camera
as one of the kids on "Romper Room."
Backstage, he met an adult guest, the
incomparable Edgar Bergen and sidekick Charlie
McCarthy. Largely because of that chance
encounter, he became an accomplished
professional ventriloquist by the age of 12,
doing shows in Vancouver, Washington.
He began making ventriloquist sidekicks, those
dummies who typically sit on a knee and who, in
Edgar Bergen's generation, looked a little
McRay's dummies brought intelligent design to
the field, and were soon the "must have" dummy
for professionals around the world. What a
cartoonist did on a sheet of paper, he did in
3D, crafting puppets that can move, show
emotion, reflect life in real time, limited only
by the talent of the ventriloquist.
He then branched out ... adding inanimate
characters to his repertoire ... characters
including "Biggie," who once greeted friends to
his Boundary County home and came to grace the
cousin, Bigger, greets customers at a
A much bigger Biggie greets customers at a mall
in Creston ... feet hanging down, fingers over
the rim of the roof, big, smiling face welcoming
everyone who pulls into the parking lot.
Each of his creations are one of a kind and
irreplacble, as he has a policy of literally
breaking the mold when he's satisfied of
Goad's report lists the value of Biggie as "over
$1,000" dollars because, Kathryn says, no one
knows how to put a price tag on McRay's works of
art ... most of which are consigned at many
times beyond that price.
McRae made Biggie for himself, stood him in his
own front yard in Boundary County through the
years he lived here to wave "hello" to everyone
passing by, and left it care of a trusted friend
and in a place he loved when he moved away.
"I am grateful Deputy Goad found Biggie, brought
him home and found out who took him," Kathryn
Boundary County chief investigator Dave
McClelland was also effusive in his praise.
"Sergeant Goad is an outstanding officer and he
gets all the credit for solving this one," he
said. "This is excellent police work. He asked
the right question at the right time, obtained a
voluntary confession that led to the recovery of
stolen property, determined who was responsible
for the crime and filed the proper charges that
the prosecutor can work with."
McClelland also hinted that this story should be
filed right above yesterday's "word
of the day" article.
A pizza might be involved. I don't like
Editor's note: The images
in this story were unscrupulously stolen from
Robert McRay's website,
http://www.robertmcray.net. Some of
Mr. McRay's backgound information wa stolen from
didn't attempt to contact Mr. McRay, but I did
call Kathryn ... who is on dial up, to pass
along the information on how she might reach
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