When Garner police and firefighters arrived, they found the doe burned all along one side. Someone apparently broke into the Storytelling House, dragged the doe in front of the structure and used straw to set her on fire, Binns said.
White Deer had been in the house since Sunday.
"Devastated, sick," former alderman Janice Stephenson said she felt when hearing of the crime. "Oh, my stomach."
The legend of White Deer was born when she was spotted in local woods about five years ago, Singleton said.
"She used to lay down at a certain spot; she knew she was special, and she would lay down staring at you," he said.
So many residents admired the unique deer that in 2001, the town board decided to name a 96-acre park after her. Three days later, she was hit by a pickup truck while crossing Aversboro Road with two offspring.
The accident promoted White Deer to folklore status, and soon afterward Stephenson raised $1,000 to have her stuffed and mounted. When the mounted doe was unveiled at Old Garner High School, tears were shed.
In 2002, after much debate, aldermen voted 3-2 to keep White Deer in the Storytelling House, a climate-controlled home built in Lake Benson Park.
The home, a quaint one-room cottage with a wraparound deck, was built to serve two purposes: to honor White Deer and to provide an area for community activities, Stephenson said.
"We can still do that, but we just don't have the deer," she said.
On Friday, Garner police searched the area around Storytelling House with dogs, but got no results. Police have also asked the City-County Bureau of Identification for assistance.
Mayor Pro Tem Ronnie Williams said he'd like the perpetrators punished to the fullest extent of the law for arson and vandalism.
One person has already offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the individual or individuals involved, Binns said.
It is uncertain whether White Deer can be restored.
"If she's damaged beyond repair, cremate it and spread its ashes on the park. That way, she's always there," Singleton said.
And #2 is an Obituary . . . I had no idea that they could be so weird:
On June 3, 2005 at 10:45 p.m. in Memphis, Tennessee, Dorothy Gibson Cully, 86, died peacefully, while in the loving care of her two favorite children, Barbara and David. All of her breath leaked out.
The mother of four children, grandmother to 11, great-grandmother to nine, devoted wife for 56 years to the late Ralph Chester Cully and a true friend to many, Dot had been active as a volunteer in the Catholic Church and other community charities for much of the past 25 years.
She was born the second child of six in 1919 as Frances Dorothy Gibson, daughter to Kathleen Heard Gibson and Calvin Hooper Gibson, an inventor best known as the first person since the Middle Ages to calculate the arcane lead-to-gold formula. Unable to actually prove this complex theory scientifically, and frustrated by the cruel conspiracy of the so-called "scientific community" working against his efforts, he ultimately stuck his head in a heated gas oven with a golden delicious apple propped in his mouth. Miraculously, the apple was saved for the evening dessert. Calvin was not.
Native Marylanders and long time Baltimore, Kent Island and Ocean City residents, Ralph and Dot later resided in Lakeland, Florida and Virginia Beach, Virginia. Several years after Ralph's death, Dot moved to Raleigh in 2001, where she lived with her son, David.
At the time of her death, Dot was visiting her daughter, Carol in Memphis. Carol and her husband, Ron, away from home attending a "very important conference" at a posh Florida resort, rushed home 10 days later after learning of the death. Dot's other children, dutifully at their mother's side helping with the normal last minute arrangements - hospice notification, funeral parlor notice, revising the last will, etc. - happily picked up the considerable slack of the absent former heiress.
Dot is warmly remembered as a generous, spiritually strong, resourceful, tolerant and smart woman, who was always ready to help and never judged others or their shortcomings. Dot always found time to knit sweaters, sew quilts and send written notes to the family children, all while working a full time job, volunteering as Girl Scout leader and donating considerable time to local charities and the neighborhood Catholic Church.
Dot graduated from Eastern High School at 15, worked in Baltimore full time from 1934 to 1979, beginning as a factory worker at Cross & Blackwell and retiring after 30 years as property manager and controller for a Baltimore conglomerate, Housing Engineering Company, all while raising four children, two of who are fairly normal.
An Irishwoman proud of and curious about her heritage, she was a voracious reader of historical novels, particularly those about the glories and trials of Ireland. Dot also loved to travel, her favorite destination being Eire's auld sod, where she dreamed of the magic, mystery and legend of the Emerald Isle.
Dot Cully is survived by her sisters, Ginny Torrico in Virginia, Marian Lee in Florida and Eileen Adams in Baltimore; her brother, Russell Gibson of Fallston, Maryland; her children, Barbara Frost of Ocean City, Maryland, Carol Meroney of Memphis, Tennessee, David Cully of Raleigh, North Carolina and Stephen Cully of Baltimore, Maryland.
Contributions to the Wake County (NC) Hospice Services are welcomed.
Opinions about the details of this obit are not, since Mom would have liked it this way.