Authorities in the USA state of Virginia have said a 22-year-old woman was mauled to death by her two dogs while out on a walk last week amid rumours that someone else killed her, reports have said. But the body was Stephens' and police say the pit bulls were eating her, he said. "In my 40 years of law enforcement I've never seen anything like it".
BREAKING: Dogs that @goochland Sheriff's office says mauled Bethany Stephens to death euthanized Saturday. Bruising did show that some of the bites were inflicted while the victim was still alive and others after she passed away. Agnew says it took deputies hours to wrangle the dogs, which he estimated weighed as much as Stephens.
During the news conference, Sgt. Mike Blackwood said Stephens left her dogs with her father, but "he wasn't taking care of them" because "it wasn't his responsibility". Her father had called police around 8:20 p.m. when he went searching for her where she usually walked her dogs, Agnew said. "I can't tell you if it was a blunt force or if it was a mauling, but I know those dogs didn't do it", Barbara Norris said.
The dogs are with Goochland Animal Control and the sheriff's office will pursue euthanization.
He said small bite marks were found on the body and the wounds didn't puncture Stephens' skull, ruling out that a larger animal, such as a bear, was to blame for the attack.
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After speculation that a Virginia woman's pit bulls couldn't have killed her, the sheriff overseeing the case released gruesome details to support that conclusion. Deputies witnessed the animals eating Stephens' rib cage; her body was dismembered and she was found completely naked except for one boot.
Stephens' family agreed to let the sheriff reveal the new details in hopes that everyone - including those who speculate she was killed another way - would understand what happened.
Authorities did not suspect foul play in the death and said no strangulation marks were found on the woman's body. At the time, he said, they do not believe the death was foul play. "It appears she was taken to the ground, lost consciousness, and the dogs then mauled her to death". "We're still doing interviews", Agnew said. "I've seen more non-pit bull breeds be aggressive towards people than pit bulls".
"We spent a lot of time there at the scene and made some observations that, out of respect for the family, we're not releasing", Agnew said.
The pitbulls have since been euthanized, with the family's permission. A local veterinarian told WTVR in Virginia that animals don't just normally attack their owners unprovoked. "Once a dog tastes human flesh it is not safe to have that dog around humans". Toxicology results on Stephens will not be available for three months.