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Could the thief be a jealous suitor?

Marilyn is missing.

That's Marilyn as in Monroe. Somewhere, the kidnapped size-10 blond bombshell is being held captive.

Okay, so it's a 6-foot cardboard cutout. Try telling that to Nedelle Mitroff, who called the Times on Monday morning to report Marilyn missing from the lobby of the Sheraton Inn on U.S. 19.

"We all miss her," said Mitroff, the hotel's sales director.

Including James Dean, she added.

The cardboard cutouts of Marilyn and the Rebel Without a Cause decorated the hotel's lobby until sometime between 1 and 2 a.m. Sunday. When Scott Overton, who worked at the hotel's front desk, returned from a five-minute break, he found the cool-as-ever James in his blue jeans and dark leather jacket, cigarette in hand. But Marilyn was gone.

Mitroff has no suspects, but she said guests were milling about in the wee hours Sunday after the hotel hosted two wedding receptions Saturday night.

The cardboard couple promoted the 1950s theme of the hotel's upcoming New Year's Eve party. But the look-alikes were such a hit with guests that the hotel started a raffle at $1 per ticket.

The winner, chosen New Year's Eve, would keep the cutouts, valued at $48 apiece. The proceeds, predicted to reach about $300, were to go to the restoration of the lighthouse on Anclote Key.

Marilyn was last seen wearing a red, strapless, sequined gown with a matching red scarf draping to the ground, and dangling sequin earrings.

A reward is offered for her return. It's dinner for two at the Sheraton.

No questions asked. The rebel awaits.

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