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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Residents of Watertown and the southern part of Jefferson County may see a man and his mannequin traveling along Route 11.

A man who goes by the name of Ned Nefer, 38, is traveling from Syracuse to Watertown by foot. He is pushing “Teagan” a 6-foot mannequin who Mr. Nefer claims is his wife.

Jefferson County Sheriff John P. Burns said that Nefer is a shortened version of Ned’s real last name but he does have a valid state Department of Motor Vehicles identification card, not a license. He said a deputy responded to a call Tuesday night in Ellisburg but Mr. Nefer was not taken into custody and is not deemed a threat.

Lisa Spear, principal social welfare examiner for Jefferson County Department of Social Services stopped to talk with him Wednesday morning while he was in Adams Center. She said she deals with a variety of mental illnesses and people who suffer from them, but has never experienced anyone like Mr. Nefer.

“This is definitely one of the very oddest things I’ve ever come across but he seems very happy,” she said. “I wouldn’t classify him as dangerous at all. He seemed quite happy in his own little world.”

Mr. Nefer said he was born in Syracuse and in the 1980’s spent some time at the Children’s Home in Watertown, where he said he met “Teagan” when she was just a head. He said he built a body for the mannequin and the two were married Oct. 31, 1986, in California.

They are traveling to the former Children’s Home on State Street, where the two met, he said. Mr. Nefer said he has not been back to Watertown since 1988.

Ms. Spear said she heard he may have been married to a human but that his wife had died.

“I’m not sure if this is his way of dealing with the death or that this is some way of coping with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder),” she said. “But he seemed sincere.”

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