GOOCHLAND, Va. (AP) — A Virginia woman was mauled to death by her two dogs while out on a walk with them, authorities said.
Bethany Lynn Stephens, 22, had been gone for about a day since she left to walk her dogs, so her father went out to look for her in the area she frequented. He found her there last week, Goochland County Sheriff Jim Agnew told The Washington Post .
Authorities said he found her two dogs guarding what he initially thought was an animal carcass. Much to his horror, he discovered that it was not, Agnew told reporters Friday.
Investigators said the petite woman of about 100 pounds was mauled to death by the dogs, which had a combined weight of about twice hers. The sheriff described the dogs as pit bulls although their specific breeds were not known.
"It appears she was taken to the ground, lost consciousness and the dogs mauled her to death," Agnew said. "There were no strangulation marks. The victim had puncture wounds in the skull, and this was not a homicide."
Stephens had defensive wounds on her hands and arms, indicating she was attacked while still alive, according to the medical examiner's office. Investigators said Stephens was first attacked on her throat and face.
Officials spent at least an hour trying to tranquilize the animals, Agnew said. Investigators do not know why the animals turned on Stephens.
Agnew said her relatives have requested that the dogs be euthanized.
Information from: The Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com