WASHINGTON, D.C.—Acting Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) director Andrew McCabe announced today that the man known simply as Waldo, whose disappearance was brought to attention in 1987 by the first of many novels which precipitated a years-long international manhunt, has been removed from the agency’s missing persons list and is presumed to be deceased.
McCabe appeared remorseful as he delivered a statement to a flurry of reporters at a press conference outside the FBI’s Washington, D.C. headquarters.
“It is with sincere regret that I inform you of the Bureau’s decision to formally close the case of missing person #77422985, commonly known as Waldo. Indeed, the “Where’s Waldo?” graphic novel campaign generated widespread enthusiasm and involvement in the search — it was those books that initially drew me to law and public service when I was a young man,” said McCabe, clutching an old, tattered book of the aforementioned title. “But, unfortunately, we have exacerbated this investigation’s resources and have received no credible leads for several years. Despite many children being able to pick him out in these sketches, and purported Waldo sightings every year around the end of October, the dead end this investigation has reached leads us to conclude that Waldo is, sadly, deceased.”
Waldo initially disappeared sometime in the 1980s, and was last seen wearing blue jeans, a red-and-white shirt, and a beanie of the same color scheme. His last confirmed whereabouts are unknown, but English illustrator Martin Handford was able to create a number of sketches based on investigative and witness reports depicting Waldo’s alleged whereabouts, which he published as a series of books imploring children to assist authorities in the search.
“I first became aware of Mr. Waldo’s peculiar disappearance upon seeing his visage imprinted on a milk carton during a visit to New York in the mid-eighties, and something about the childlike innocence of his image compelled me to help locate him,” said a visibly defeated and demoralized Handford in an interview following McCabe’s announcement. “I reckoned that such an interactive and — might I say — fun, search effort would surely bring Mr. Waldo back home. With such a whimsical and distinct outfit, the odds that someone might spot him based on my drawings should have been quite high. But, alas; the boy is gone.”
Despite closing the Waldo investigation, intelligence officials have announced increased funding for the “I Spy” book series as part of the federal government’s initiative to groom children for future careers in intelligence amid renewed tension with Russia.