She said the government never had any claim to the bears, however, since Hechler purchased them with his own money.
Upon their return, Hechler promptly renamed one of the bears "Gibson," after his friend, mountaintop removal activist Larry Gibson.
The third bear, the baby of the family, came to live at the Capitol sometime after 2001, when Hechler left office and loaned the animals to McGraw's office. That bear belonged to former senior assistant attorney general Rex Burford.
Burford now lives in Wilmington, N.C., but said in a short phone interview Monday that his bear would be sent to live with "a nominee" here in the Mountain State.
The Daily Mail's interview with Burford was cut short.
"You've had your fun," he said before hanging up. "It's over."
Clay said the animals would be missed around the Capitol. Visitors, especially schoolchildren on class trips, often stopped by the Attorney General's Office to pose for photos with the bears.
"You get a 3- or 4-year-old running through the Capitol, it's something they like to look at," Clay said.
"The bears have been quite a staple around here for quite a while. Maybe somebody else will start a bear collection."
Contact writer Zack Harold at 304-348-7939 or zack.har...@ dailymail.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ZackHarold.