‘Sheriff reveals horrifying details about Virginia woman mauled by pet dogs’
Cops rule out foul play in case of 22-year-old woman eaten by her own pit bulls as they reveal they found the dogs chewing on her rib cage
The remains of Bethany Lynn Stephens was found in a wooded area of her home in Goochland, VA on Dec 14, two days after she went missing
Her father found her body being aggressively guarded by her two pit bulls
Authorities ruled out foul play, or her being killed by a person, no sexual assault or strangulation marks – body showed signs consistent with being mauled by animals
Cops also ruled out her been killed by a bear or coyote, because bite and scratch marks were consistent with smaller animals
County Sheriff said ‘I observed… the dogs eating the ribcage on the body,’ he said. ‘The injuries were very severe’
Killer dogs have since been put down ‘Once a dog tastes human flesh it is not safe to have that dog around humans’ – Sheriff
Bethany Lynn Stephens with one of her pet pitbulls that killed and ate her in the woods near her home
Bethany Lynn Stephens was last seen heading out to walk her dogs in the woods near her Goochland, Virginia home, Monday the County Sheriff confirmed that a 22-year-old woman was mauled to death by her own pit bulls and reveal they found the dogs chewing on her rib cage.
Stephens was found dead in what Sheriff James Agnew described as a ‘grisly’ scene on night of December 14, two days after she was last seen heading out to walk her dogs near her home.
Friends of the victim had insisted that her beloved pets would never have killed her, saying the dogs would ‘kill you with kisses’, and suggesting Stephens could have been murdered.
The speculations were laid to rest Monday as Sheriff Agnew ruled out foul play, describing the horrific scene he and his officers found.
‘Let me cut right to the chase, the most important detail that we did not release because we were worried about the well-being of the family is that in the course of trying to capture the dogs early Friday morning, we turned and looked… I observed, as well as four other deputy sheriffs, the dogs eating the ribcage on the body,’ Agnew told Pix 11. ‘The injuries were very severe.’
Bethany Lynn Stephens [L-R] with her killer dogs. the dog-loving woman was found dead on Thursday night. police found the pet canines eating the remains of their owner.
Agnew, who said that Stephens had already been dead when they found her, also described the blood covered scene, but said investigators had ruled out widespread suggestions that she could have been killed by a bear or coyote.
‘There was no evidence of any larger animal there,’ Agnew said. ‘The medical examiner made it pretty clear that it was not a large animal because the bite wounds didn’t puncture her skull.
‘There were also scratch marks consistent with a smaller animal than something like a bear.’
Agnew said that they also didn’t believe she’d been killed by a person.
The medical examiner ruled out with ‘complete certainty’ sexual assault, adding that they were no strangulation marks on her body.
Barbara Norris [photo], does not believe the dogs would kill Stephens, she believes her friend was murdered – ‘Those dogs would not attack her. They’d kill you with kisses.
Stephens’ friend doesn’t think the dogs would have attacked her, noting they slept in the bed with her at night. The friend said it looked like the dogs had escaped their kennels to help her.
The brindle-colored pit bulls were said to have been bred for fighting and Goochland County Sheriff Agnew, laying out the scenario said the victim, although a dog trainer, at 5-feet-1 and 125 pounds, weighed roughly the same as her dogs.
Investigators had also spoken to witnesses and people known to Stephens, and ‘people’s movements… don’t fit with that particular narrative.’
However, police are still investigating and are carrying out forensic tests.
Cops captured the dogs at the scene but the animals have since been euthanized, with the family’s consent on Saturday.
‘What I observed personally, it was in the community’s best interest,’ Agnew said. ‘Once a dog tastes human flesh it is not safe to have that dog around humans.’
But not everyone has accepted the police’s response.
The victim’s father John [left], found her body two days after she went missing
Family, friends and colleagues at a dog training facility where Stephens worked, said the victim was experienced working with animals and the dogs were well socialized and passive.
Veterinary experts have also said that it is extremely rare for a dog to just attack at random.
Sergeant Mike Blackwood revealed the dogs, which had lived inside with Stephens, had been a ‘little bit neglected towards the end of this’ after the 22-year-old left the dogs with her father who wasn’t taking care of them.
Stephens would come home five times a week to see the dogs, which had been moved outside to a kennel and became increasingly isolated.
However, Agnew refuted rumors that the pit bulls had been used for fighting and said that while rare, such attacks on owners weren’t unheard of.
‘I don’t want to disparage any particular breed but if you do the research you will find that many of them are perpetuated by pit bulls.’
The police said they had decided to share more details on the case because of the rampant rumors and theories spreading through their community in the wake of Stephens’ death.
Stephens’ friend, Barbara Norris, told NBC12 that she didn’t believe the dogs would kill Stephens and that they slept in her bed at night.
‘Those dogs would not attack her,’ she said. ‘They’d kill you with kisses.’
Norris said that the dogs’ kennels appeared to have been broken open, as if the dogs had escaped to help Stephens.
However, the Richmond-Times Dispatch reported that the ‘very large, brindle-colored pit bull dogs’, were aggressively guarding her body when her father came across them.
Initial medical examiner’s reports indicated that Stephens, who stood 5-foot-1 and weighted 125 pounds, had defensive wounds on her hands and arms.
Her wounds, which also included puncture wounds in her skull, were consistent with having been mauled.
‘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.’
After discovering his daughter’s body and the dogs guarding it, John Stephens called 911.
It took the sheriff’s deputies more than an hour to wrangle the dogs, which were said to weigh about as much as Stephens did.
Sheriff’s deputies then collected more than 60 pieces of evidence from the scene of Stephens’ death, which was covered with blood and shredded pieces of her clothing.
Sheriff Agnew noted that Stephens’ death was not a homicide, but the investigation is ongoing.