After 49 years, there was finally a confession.
The baby sitter did it.
As a prank, Beaufort native Randy Bazemore's baby sitter and her friends kidnapped the "Frogmore Frog," a small statue that was the Frogmore Post Office's unofficial mascot in 1963.
They dressed the frog in a hat, sunglasses and lipstick, and took it to a party at Lands End on St. Helena Island. It was later spotted at the Bachelor's Officer's Quarters on Parris Island.
The legend of the stolen frog continued, following Bazemore throughout his life. While training at Aviation Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Fla., in 1971, instructors, who had trained on Parris Island, blamed Bazemore for the theft. They had learned he was from Beaufort, and they were very familiar with the story.
"People talked about it for years," Bazemore said.
In 2011, Bazemore used the story as the basis for a children's book, "The Legend of the Putter Frog of Frogmore, SC."
In September, he received a letter admitting to the theft.
It was signed "your old baby sitter."
Back in 1963, a couple of civilian employees on Parris Island had read a story in The Beaufort Gazette about a frog statue that had been given to the post office. Their interest was piqued when the postmistress was quoted as not being concerned that the frog, which wasn't attached to anything, would be stolen.
"That was all we needed to decide to go get the frog," the baby sitter wrote in her letter to Bazemore.
The two women were heading to Lands End for the weekend to attend a party, which meant they had to pass by the post office.
Two lieutenants stationed at Parris Island who were attending the party promised to return the frog to the post office that evening. Instead it spent the rest of the weekend at the Bachelor's Officer's Quarters at Parris Island.
The theft from federal property made national news.
The following Monday, Paul Harvey mentioned it on his news radio show:
"Frogmore, South Carolina, where's the Frog? Put it back. It's a federal offense."
The frog party was over.
Fearful of their federal connections as civilian employees on a federal base and as Marine Corps officers, the statue was slipped back into place after dark.
To quote Harvey: "And that's the rest of the story."