Smithfield resident Jodee Gessel was not surprised Tuesday morning when she found out her son Jaxon had been chased up a tree by a goat.
"If something like this is going to happen, Jaxon is the one it's going to happen to," she said. "Weird things always occur with him and his dad. It's like they both have glowing bull's eyes pasted on them."
You'd almost have to think she's right about that bull's eye considering the facts of the case, which resulted in a frantic search for Jaxon by both his parents and Smithfield police when the 14-year-old didn't return from delivering his morning paper route.
As Jaxon tells it, he was riding his bicycle near 300 South and Main Street, about halfway through his route, when a goat came up from the side and head-butted him off his bike and to the ground. As the youth got back to his feet, the goat kept pursuing him and nipping at him, forcing him off his bike a second time and eventually chasing him up a nearby tree.
"He just sat under the tree staring up at me," said the North Cache student, who estimated the standoff lasted about an hour.
While this was going on, Jaxon's parents were starting to worry about him since he was long overdue from finishing his route. While going from house to house to look for his son and determine how far he'd progressed on the route, father Willie Gessel decided to phone police.
Gessel never saw Jaxon up the tree, and Jaxon never saw his dad looking for him, but when some girls passed by the tree and the goat decided to chase after them, Jaxon knew he had to do something. He jumped out of the tree and gave chase. Then, after a bit of a wrestling match, he was able to get a grip on the goat's collar and keep him away from the girls.
At that point, there seemed to be nothing left to do but find the goat’s home.
Using a stick to both herd the animal and keep it at bay, Jaxon visited several houses. Finally, some helpful residents recognized his predicament and phoned police for help.
Smithfield Police Officer Brandon Muir had been dispatched to look for Jaxon, and when he heard the second call about a boy and a goat, it all came together.
"They said the boy with the goat was named 'Justin.' That sounded very close to 'Jaxon,' so I checked it out," Muir said, joking that in the end it turned out he "got two kids in one case."
Muir said the goat was impounded by Smithfield Animal Control pending claim by its owner. For her part, Jaxon's mother chalked it all up to "just another day in the life of the Gessels."