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.
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