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HomeNewsCopies of Colorado Town Newspapers Go Missing From Stands After Publishing a...

Copies of Colorado Town Newspapers Go Missing From Stands After Publishing a Rape Report

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The rape story on the front page of the Plaindealer newspaper
Source: Mercury News1/X


Scores of newspapers belonging to a local news outlet in Colorado have been reported to be mysteriously missing. Investigators suspect theft as about 100 copies of the Plaindealer newspaper went missing on paper stands around Ouray County, Colorado. 

Interestingly, the day of the alleged theft coincides with the publication of a front-page rape story involving the local police chief. 

The story run by the Plaindealer on the day of the theft was an incident that happened in May 2023. The rape story revolves around an ongoing investigation by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. It turns out that a 17-year-old girl claims to be a victim of multiple rapes at a party held at the residence of local Police Chief Wood. 

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The girl making the claim said her drink was probably laced during the night party. She also mentioned that Chief Wood’s stepson and two other suspects were at the party. However, it was night, and the adults were upstairs sleeping. 

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Though the case is still under investigation, the Plaindealer’s Thursday publication featured a story with information at their disposal about the rape case. In the report, the paper states that the girl told investigators of how the night party involved drugs and drinks. The victim claims she could tell of two people raping her that evening because she was in and out of consciousness. 

The newspapers went missing on Thursday, January 18, 2024. The news outlet claims that its papers mysteriously vanish from all the newsstands in Ouray County, but one. Only the Plaindealer papers on Ridgway, Colorado racks escaped the chain newspaper theft. 

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According to the owner of the Plaindealer newspaper, Mike Wiggins, someone was definitely out to keep locals from reading that particular issue of the papers. He also promised to liaise with authorities to get to the bottom of the theft. 

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In fact, Wiggins said in a post on X that he will try to run the stories from that day in future issues of the newspaper. 

However, the local Sheriff’s Office was able to apprehend a man for the theft of the newspapers. Paul Chaote is a 41-year-old man who came forward on that Thursday evening to accept responsibility for the over 200 missing copies of the Plaindealer newspaper. He returned the papers that same evening and tendered an apology to the outlet for his misconduct. 

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The Sheriff’s Office of Ouray County released a statement on Friday saying that “The suspect is not a member or relative of local law enforcement and not associated with the defendants in the recent reported sexual assault.” However, an interesting question is if a single suspect could manage to steal papers from multiple stands around the county singlehandedly in a single morning. 

Concerning the rape case, the CBI has arrested the three boys involved based on sexual assault allegations. The stepson of the Police Chief Wood is one of the three. News outlets have been making efforts to reach out to Chief Wood, but they are not getting any response. 

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