While many kids' Christmas lists are growing, there's only one thing a 4-year-old boy from Lamont is asking for from Santa. He wants his miniature pony back. Someone stole it from the family's backyard the day after Thanksgiving.
After reporting it to police, the family contacted 17 News in hopes someone will see their pet and make the boy's only holiday wish come true.
Like they'd do each morning, Sonni Manriquez and her young sons make their morning trip through their backyard.
"Shadow," young Kai, nearly 2, yells.
The backyard is where they'd visit Shadow, their much-loved, miniature pony.
"She was a pet," said Sonni Manriquez. "She was a part of our family. We all loved her, but especially my oldest son. He grew up with her."
Her son, Koen, is just 4 years old. When he was just 2, his family bought Shadow. With constant love, the once shy pony became an affectionate friend. But, thieves stole the little boy's constant companion five days ago.
"So, when he came out that morning to help feed, she was gone," said Sonni.
"She was gone," said Koen.
The night after Thanksgiving, someone snuck into the family's backyard. Sonni pointed to the metal fence saying, "It's pretty obvious that they just cut all of this here and pulled it open and walked her straight all of the way that way."
Sonni says they found hoof and shoe prints all the way into the distant almond fields and trailer tracks leading off the property. Since then, they've made fliers, posted Shadow's pictures on Facebook and Craigslist, and told police. So far, there has been no sign of Shadow. For a family who loves their pets like family, this loss is devastating.
"And, he doesn't understand why he loves her, why he can't have her, why somebody would take her. He can't understand ,and I don't want him to know that there's that type of people in this world," said Sonni of her son.
Sonni says her youngest son, Kai, walks around calling out Shadow's name, hoping to find her. Their dog, Clay, still searches the now empty field were Shadow and he used to run together. But, taking it the hardest is Koen, who has narrowed his Christmas wish list down to one thing.
"So, what are you asking from Santa?," we asked Koen. He answers, "Um, Shadow."
"That's all you want," we ask and Koen nods his head yes, then shrugs in disappointment..
"So, that's what I hope he takes from this, is just remembering. If we don't get her back, is remembering the lesson of showing something love and kindness," said Sonni of her son. "And, that's what I hope he takes from it."
Deputies say cases like this are rare, and so far they have no leads. Shadow was wearing a red halter on his head.
Call the Kern County Sheriff's Department at 861-3110 if you have any information.