- Associated Press - Friday, June 3, 2016

WASHINGTON (AP) - A letter written by naturalist Charles Darwin has been returned to the Smithsonian Archives more than 40 years after it was stolen.

The FBI, which announced the return Thursday, says the 1875 letter was among a collection of papers on North American geology given to the Smithsonian. FBI spokeswoman Katherine Zackel says the letter was stolen before it was inventoried, so officials didn’t realize it was gone until the late 1970s when researchers at Cambridge University asked for a copy.

Zackel says that because the statute of limitations on the crime has run out, no one will be charged.

Darwin wrote the letter to American geologist Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden, thanking him for sending two field studies of the American West. FBI agent Mark Hess says despite being outside the Smithsonian’s care, the letter was well preserved.

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