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Fair Lawn PD Says String Wasn’t A Noose, 'Not A Deliberate Act'

NOT a noose, Fair Lawn PD concludes.
NOT a noose, Fair Lawn PD concludes. Photo Credit: FAIR LAWN PD

UPDATE: Following a lengthy investigation, Fair Lawn police said Tuesday that a length of string found tied to a tree that took a disturbing shape this past weekend wasn't a noose but, rather, was an item used by contractors.

"The rope in question was closer in size to twine (thinner than a shoe lace) that is regularly used by utility companies to either tie cables together or to pull new cables from pole to pole," Sgt. Brian Metzler said.

"It appears that the twine, found tied to the tree, had been attached to twine found in the overhead cables," Metzler said.

"It appeared that the portion of the twine attached to the overhead cables had become detached, possibly during the windy conditions present on Saturday and had fallen, becoming entangled into the branches of the tree," he said.

"Based on the totality of the circumstances, Fair Lawn police are confident that this was not a deliberate act," the sergeant said.

"The resident, in a follow-up conversation with detectives, was satisfied with the outcome of the investigation and was relieved that this was not intentional," he added.

Twine found tied, holding cables in place. INSET: The other end of the twine, caught in a branch of the same tree and from the direction where the other piece of twine was located in the overhead cables.

FAIR LAWN PD

Metzler said detectives "spoke with representatives from multiple utility companies who stated that although they could not confirm who tied it or when the rope was tied to the cables, the rope that was found is consistent with rope that is regularly used by those companies."

The loop on the end of the twine, that was apparently formed by the twine having been twisted in the wind, was approximately the size of a silver dollar," the sergeant said.

"Detectives were able to locate similar twine that was tying cables together near the residence, " Metzler said.

"With assistance from the Fair Lawn Fire Department, the twine was cut, allowing the cables it was holding to separate and hang low to the ground," he said. "The twine removed from the cables matched the twine that had been found tied to the tree."

The original Facebook post.

Kelli McCloud

Tree contractors and utility workers have said that similar rope is used to secure wires, among other purposes.

A former Optimum executive told Daily Voice that telecommunication companies "use that kind of rope to pull the new fiber lines in the entire footprint.

"They are doing a lot of building out of their system," he said. "They would not know if the crew left it or not since they are using contractors and not employees to build out the system.

"With so many different contracting companies being used to build out the new fiber network and answer service calls, there is no way to know if a contractor left it or not."

The turmoil began after Kelli McCloud, a well-respected herbal and holistic health clinician, posted a photo of the string on her property on Facebook.

It generated nonstop social media buzz, along with some uncivility between those who saw a noose and others who said it clearly wasn't.

McCloud said her family reported the incident to police and then used pruners to cut down the string, which she said was tied in two spots to the tree about seven or so feet off the ground.

"It was a very thin gauge of twine, about 2mm thick," she said. "Not industrial looking. More like packing style polypropylene."

Some pointed out that the loop appeared to be no more than a twist in the string, which is secured and not draped. It also didn't have the "hangman's knot" that creates the noose effect -- but, rather, a slip knot often used by contractors and utility workers.

Others cited the case of what originally was believed to be a noose found in the garage of black race-car driver Bubba Wallace but was actually a pull rope that was in place before the stall was assigned to him.

Mayor Kurt Peluso did his own investigating and insisted that the string wasn't left by a utility company or contractor.

"The rope was not from a utility company or the borough," Peluso said. "I also walked around the neighborhood and could not find any rope attached to any wires."

McCloud cut the string down and gave it to police.

Kelli McCloud

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