HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - After eluding capture for over two weeks, Jeff the wallaby is back home and resting. Residents from all over the Pine Belt came to the aid of Logan Whitehead, Jeff's owner, to help find the furry three-footer. And now, they'll finally get a chance to meet the little guy.
Lance Sanderford, owner of Magnolia Graphics and Design, is hosting a meet and greet with Whitehead on April 14. Sanderford says his initial plan was to have the event at his business. However, the meet and greet garnered so much interest that he needed to secure a bigger venue.
The meet and greet will take place at the Extreme Skate Zone in Oak Grove from 9 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Admission is free, and food and drinks will be available for sale.
Special guest Katherine Smith will be in attendance to share her story on how she captured Jeff.
On Wednesday, Smith caught Jeff in her backyard in the HighPointe subdivision of Hattiesburg. She says she started placing bananas around her home after she found out the marsupial was spotted in her front yard on Sunday.
"... This morning I went out of the garage and he was standing there," said Smith in a previous interview with WDAM-TV. "So, we were able to open our side gate and he just went right in."
Once Jeff went inside, she quickly closed the door and waited for Whitehead to come pick him up. Although Whitehead became worried during his search for Jeff, he was grateful to see his two-year-old buddy.
"Yes, it really felt surreal," said Whitehead describing the moment he picked up Jeff in a previous interview with WDAM-TV. "I felt like it wasn't really happening, because he had been gone for so long, so you just kind of lose hope. But, there he was. I was really excited."
Katherine Smith is expected to attend the event as the guest of honor. Attendees will be able to hear her describe the details leading up to Jeff's capture.
Sanderford is also taking monetary donations for the Bennett wallaby stating that both Logan and his girlfriend, Kayla Graham, are in college and spend a lot to care for Jeff.
"He is like their child and as you know we scrimp and sacrifice for our kids," he wrote on Facebook. "It shows great character on their part"
They are also accepting blankets, baby safe toys, or large backpacks.
Jeff on the run in the Pine Belt: