Sheriff offers grisly details to end speculation about woman killed by dogs

Janie Parker
December 21, 2017

Agnew said the dogs were Stephens', and he suspected they had been bred for fighting.

But the body was Stephens's, and police say the pit bulls were eating her.

She says she's going to do whatever it takes to make sure investigators have exhausted all possibilities.

Police said that the medical examiner found no evidence of a larger animal causing Stephens' death, that bite wounds "didn't puncture her skull", and that "scratch marks [were more] consistent with a smaller animal than something like a bear".

'The first traumatic injury to her was to her throat and face, ' Agnew said, adding that, 'It appears she was taken to the ground, lost consciousness, and the dogs then mauled her to death'. "In my 40 years of law enforcement, I've never seen anything quite like it. Hope I'd never see anything like it again".

"That's not something I would normally see", she said.

Goochland County Sheriff's Office is working to have the dogs euthanized.

But despite reports from the medical examiner stating that Stephens' injuries were consistent with being mauled, friends of the victim have spoken out to advocate for the dogs, claiming details of the story don't add up.

Meanwhile, one of the Stephens' best friends said she does not believe the animals would have done anything to hurt her, considering that she had raised them since they were puppies. "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. "They'd kill you with kisses". A petition started by Norris on the dogs' behalf has already racked up thousands of signatures.

Sergeant Mike Blackwood said the pets were somewhat neglected recently when Stephens left them in her father's care.

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"I observed, as well as four other deputy sheriffs observed, the dogs eating the rib cage on the body", Agnew was quoted as saying by the Washington Post.

Friends explained that Stephens was going through certain personal events and she no longer had the dogs with her. "Having said that, we are still following up on those; we are still doing forensic tests".

"The family is devastated, they are worn out", Agnew said.

Tonka and Pac-Man were brindled pit bull brothers from the same litter, born about two and a half years ago.

"I think the investigation needs to be ongoing", Learn said.

Stephens' father had called the sheriff's office after he hadn't seen his daughter in a day.

Veterinary experts have also said that it's is extremely rare for a dog to just attack at random.

Agnew said he and the deputies made a decision to capture the dogs, who were later euthanized, after the family gave permission.

The dogs were euthanized Saturday at 11 a.m. and are being preserved until officials can perform a necropsy on them. Toxicology results on Stephens will not be available for three months.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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