Benton, MO - Authorities here closed the home of Mrs. Esther Hensley after investigating the recent satellite strike of one of her cats, Sniffles. Investigators at the scene, upon entry into the Hensley home, discovered 117 cats the widow had been keeping as pets.
"It was bizarre, only thing I can say," said chief detective Richard Troutman. "She had cat skin lampshades, cat skin couch covers, cat skin whattayacallem...beer holders..you name it."
Mrs. Hensley, who was living alone since her husband's death three years ago in the widely publicized 'Mormon Hot Air Balloon Mishap' while tending his birdfeeder, was taken for local in-treatment psychiatric evaluation and arrangementsplaced in assisted-living conditions by complex out-of-state relatives.
As she was being taken away, Mrs. Hensley said, "But I don't want to leave here. This is my home. They wouldn't go away, so I fed them, the same as the reporters."
Ever since Bell Labs Spybird GY China 118 crashed into the Hensley back yard, striking and burying Sniffles, the Hensley residence has been in continual upheaval.
The scene was the focus of local police, firemen, and reporters, then government and NASA officials, then national media, scientists, and academics, then finally, local social services agency representatives.
A neighbor, Mrs. Eldon Thurman, said, "There's been a commotion over there before. First the balloon thing, and now this. Eldon was out fixing the electronic fence and saw it hit. Cat never had a chance, he said."
A scientist involved in the project, who spoke upon the condition of anonymity, said the satellite 'should have mostly burned up upon re-entry, and should never have come close to striking this hemisphere, or this unfortunate cat.'
Officials at the Office of Space Reconnaissance said, 'We cannot comment on the sensitive mission of Spybird GY China 118 or the incident, except to say it marked the occurrence of a re-entry package.'
Mrs. Hensley's cats were secured by several personnel and volunteers of the local animal shelter after ten hours of chase the county had never before witnessed, where the cats were later euthanized for their own welfare.
Officials cordoned off the Hensley and adjacent homes during the removal of the 7-ton satellite. When lifted from the hole with the flattened Sniffles atop the payload, NASA officals asked, "How did that cat survive re-entry?"