Virginia sheriff releases grisly details of dog mauling to end questions

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In Goochland, Virginia, Sheriff James Agnew responded with grisly details to the continuing speculation and questions surrounding the mauling death of Bethany Lynn Stephens, 22, by her two dogs.

Bethany was found dead, in what has been described as a “grisly” scene last Thursday evening – two days after she was last seen taking her two bully breed dogs for a walk in her Goochland neighborhood. According to the Richmond Times Dispatch, Bethany’s father found her body being guarded by the “very large, brindle-colored pit bull dogs.” Goochland County Sheriff James L. Agnew, stated in his nearly 40 years in law enforcement, he had never seen anything quite like this. At the scene, police gathered shredded pieces of clothing covered with blood for evidence.

The news of the young woman’s death went viral as questions from animal behaviorists, friends of Bethany and veterinarians believed there was more to the story. A family friend, Barbara Norris told CBS6News, that she did not believe the dogs would kill Bethany; both dogs slept with her in bed every night.

“Those dogs would not attack her,” Barbara said. “They’d kill you with kisses.”

On Monday evening, Sheriff Agnew released more details, hoping to finally end the speculation. He did say he conferred with the family first.

“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 rib cage on the body. The injuries were very severe.”

According to WtvrNews, the sheriff stated no foul play has been seen, and even though there had been a man in Bethany’s life who could have been considered a threat, there were no indications of any foul play nor sexual attack on the woman’s body. He did admit that an investigation continues and experts are following up on forensic testing.

In addition, there has been no evidence of any larger animal, including a possible bear attack, having attacked the victim according to the medical examiner.

And as for the dogs, despite numerous people coming forward who knew the victim and the dogs and people who contended the dogs were gentle and socialized, more details have emerged.  Sergeant Mike Blackwood stated the dogs had been staying with Bethany’s father and “were a little bit neglected towards the end of this.” The dogs had previously been indoor pets with Bethany, but when they were at her father’s home, they had been kept outdoors in the cold in a kennel and only had contact with each other. Bethany would come over and walk them nearly everyday. How that may have affected the lives of the dog and their personalities can only be speculated.

The dogs were euthanized on Saturday as requested by the family.

Rest in peace Bethany and your two dogs.

Read the previous article here.

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  1. Survival of the fittest !! 1. When they were inside dogs they were fine, then you throw them outside in a kennel ! !!! That’s pure neglect that’s survival !!! What’s Shame !! Never leave dogs outside they are family members they belong inside !! RIP sweet babies

  2. O Please – dogs don’t eat human meat unless they are starving – and in this statement first the dogs are guarding Ms. Stephens, now they are eating her???? Spare me the BS.

    • you have learned nothing about what you call dog’s who”
      what more do you need to get thru that thick head of yours.
      the dogs snapped and went in to willing mode. an quick and cool and uncontrollable group effort to kill and eat into a bloody frenzy. the Harding was a lie hoping the public would just move on. you all have brought the horror of this 3rd report in your selves.
      you need to get it thru your thick heads. not all dog’s are pets. move on to dog’s who are worth saving.

      • Her dad lied seeing them “guarding her body”? Something tells me he failed to feed them and ignored them. As a result they turned on the one who they thought were their friend.

    • They weren’t guarding her body. That was a lie. I had adopted a Cockapoo that bit me big time and enjoyed licking the blood off me, my clothing and bedspread. Once some dogs taste blood they never forget.

  3. Sounds like the dogs were more than just “a little bit neglected” at the father’s place. Couldn’t she tell they were neglected by their demeanor? I’m sorry, but it still doesn’t wash, if the dogs attacked her and were eating her it must be because they were starving so how long were they “neglected?”

    • I agree. I think her dad ignored them and never fed them and she suffered the consequences. Her dad will have to live with that. He lied when he said they were “guarding her body”.

  4. This IS indeed strange to say the least!!! What may have taken place at the father’s home that would change these two dogs that appeared to love their master so much… Starving them, abusing them , I would think to consume your master there was a severe hunger issue!!! Poor girl didn’t have a chance!!

    • you guys are compleat don’t know danger.
      you live in a fantasy world.the dog’s were not starved. they were trained to be vishious. they had for sometime became aggressive. they were manageable maybe a few years ago when they were young.
      they were trained for aggression. no one in the family could handle them.the dogs killed the girl and the dogs garding her was a lie. don’t you believe it for a second. the family knows why it happened, the police know why it happened. they had warning they chose unwisely..
      the 2 dog’s came from a pit bull fight club in the vicinity. they were bread and chosen for the potential to be aggressive garde dogs. then they got aggressive. the kisses reference is bull. all lies to deceive . get out of you wishful thinking. its for your own good to know the danger around you. I won’t allow you not to understand the danger of some animals that may cross our lives ones path.

      • WHO THE HELL ARE YOU CALLING PEOPLE IDIOTS??You are the idiot how do you know what happen Mrs know it all
        The father found her first bitch
        trained for aggression I’m glad you know the dogs so will
        and keep your option to yourself we don’t give a shit on what you have to say OK
        People like you just read the newspapers and go on the internet to get your info. Do us a favor Keep you idiots comment to your self

  5. I too believe there is more to this story….everything about this story sounds bizarre. Guess we will never ever know what really happened nor will the authorities! Very very sad story!


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