CUMBERLAND, R.I. — The Rhode Island Department of Health says it was not able “to definitively confirm or refute the presence of Santa” in a young girl’s home after she requested to have a partially eaten cookie and a couple of gnawed-on carrot sticks tested for DNA to see if Santa Claus is real.
The department tweeted on Monday that “we all agree that something magical may be at play.”
The department said it found no complete matches to anyone in the Combined DNA Index System but said there was a partial match “to a 1947 case centered around 34th Street in New York City,” referring to the movie “Miracle on 34th Street.” It said it would need more DNA samples “from other known Santa encounters to make a definitive match.”
The “good news” is that the lab did find the presence of DNA closely matching Rangifer tarandus, known as reindeer, when testing the carrots, the department said.
The girl, a Cumberland resident, had sent the cookie and carrot sticks to the town’s police department to ask if they can be tested for DNA, Chief Matthew Benson said on Friday. Benson forwarded the “evidence” to the state’s Department of Health-Forensic Sciences unit for analysis.
While DNA evidence may be inconclusive, the girl can always rely on the U.S. government for her proof of Santa. Last year, NORAD tracked Santa on Christmas Eve into Christmas Day, just like they've done for more than six decades.
The military command has been fielding calls since 1955, when Air Force Col. Harry Shoup — the commander on duty at NORAD’s predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command — fielded a call from a child who dialed a misprinted telephone number in a newspaper department store ad, thinking she was calling Santa.
A fast-thinking Shoup quickly assured his caller that he was. And the tradition began.