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The results of the investigation into Santa Claus' DNA requested by a Rhode Island girl are in

In January, the Cumberland Police Department in Rhode Island launched a special investigation to help a 10-year-old girl find out if Santa Claus is truly real.
/ Source: TODAY

Over the last month, a police department in Rhode Island has been investigating Santa Claus’ existence with the help of evidence submitted by a 10-year-old girl.

Chief Matthew J. Benson from the Cumberland Police Department received a package in January that contained a letter alongside two compelling pieces of evidence: a half-eaten cookie and two baby carrots with bite marks. 

The enclosed handwritten letter was from Scarlett Doumato and included a request: “I took a sample of a cookie and carrots that I left for Santa and the raindeer [sic] on Christmas Eve and was wondering if you could take a sample of DNA and see if Santa is real?”

On Feb. 1, after several weeks of investigation, Benson invited Scarlett and her family to review the final results of the investigation, the police department announced on Facebook. Benson shared his official memorandum via email with, which he also read during the briefing.

In the statement, he drew parallels between Scarlett’s story and one from over 125 years ago when 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon wrote to the New York Sun to pose the same question: Is there a Santa Claus?

Benson quoted Francis Pharcellus Church, the editorial writer for the paper at the time, writing in part: “Yes (Scarlett), there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. … How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no (Scarletts).”

“To answer your question Scarlett, yes, there is a Santa Claus, and that same spirit resides in you," Benson said to conclude his memorandum. "I thank you for the joy you brought me, my staff, and this community. And for the millions across the world who believe in Santa Claus right along with you, they too say Thank You.”

Scarlett Doumato stands with Chief Matthew Benson
Scarlett Doumato and Chief Matthew BensonCumberland Police Department

The Rhode Island Department of Health previously reported the results of its DNA analysis of the evidence collected by Scarlett on Jan. 23.

“Unfortunately there were no complete matches to anyone in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) that is used to help identify matches with other results across the country to help solve cold cases,” the statement read. “Interestingly, there was a partial match to a 1947 case centered around 34th street in New York City.”

"We all agree that something magical may be at play," the department included in its statement.

At the briefing on Feb. 1, Benson shared a presentation, according to WJAR, an NBC affiliate in Providence. He reviewed details of the recovered evidence, the results from the Rhode Island Department of Health, videos from the lab where tests were run on the evidence and several photos of “reindeer” in the area. Benson also shared information provided by investigators in North Pole, a city in Alaska.

Benson went on to divulge details about the person of interest who had been identified, describing him as an “older gentleman” wearing a red jacket and a red hat who was spotted in the area on the night of Dec. 24. A Facebook post from the police department on Jan. 23 included a photo of the back of the person of interest alongside the message, “We are still actively investigating and pursuing additional leads. A person of interest responded to HQ today.”

Scarlett, a young detective in training, was presented with several gifts at the briefing for all of her hard work gathering evidence for the case.

According to a Facebook post from the police department, she received a tour of the station and experienced a "hands-on fingerprint development and examination," as well as a crime scene investigation kit, CSI jacket and a junior investigator badge. 

Scarlett Doumato does a fingerprint exercise
Scarlett Doumato works on a hands-on fingerprint development and examination.Cumberland Police Department

In the statement summarizing the department's findings, Benson thanked Scarlett for giving those who awaiting the results of this investigation the "greatest gift" anyone could receive.

"Because of you, for even a moment, they were transported back to a time, many years ago, when they were you," he wrote. "They were brought back to a time of innocence, a time of excitement, a time of hope. They were brought back to when they were their own Scarlett. And for many, being brought back to that wonderful time, with unforgettable memories, is more needed now than perhaps any other point in our history."

Cumberland Police Department
statement from Chief Matthew Benson
Letter from Chief Matthew Benson to Scarlett DoumatoCumberland Police Department

After the special investigation into Santa Claus launched last month, Benson told on the phone that he was “blown away” by Scarlett’s investigative work, adding, “For her to take that initiative and to push that forward because she has a question that she wants answered, I just think was amazing.”

He also said that the department was taking things “just as serious” as Scarlett was.

“She did the work — she collected the evidence, she tagged it the right way," he said. "She’s obviously watching the shows very intently. Separate baggies. She did it right by the book.”