United States woman mauled to death by her two pit bulls

Lena Tucker
December 22, 2017

They were socialized, indoor dogs whose owner, 22-year-old Bethany Lynn Stephens, was said to treat them like her own children.

Goochland County sheriff Jim Agnew held a press conference on Monday, four days after Bethany Lynn Stephens' body was found from the wooded area she frequented, to quell rumours and widespread misinformation of foul play on social media. After an avalanche of phone calls and social media, Agnew cleared up several previously made statements and offered some gruesome details after a long discussion with Stephens' family.

Told Agnew via Pix 11, 'Let me cut right to the chase, the most important detail that we did not release because we were anxious 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... A man who used to work with the Virginia woman at a dog training facility also said she loved her dogs and was very experienced working with animals.

"It appeared the attack was a violent attack initiated by the victims" dogs while the victim was out for a walk with the dogs, ' Sheriff Agnew said.

"Ms. Stephens was terribly, terribly injured, but it was very apparent to us that she had been dead for quite some time", Agnew told reporters, adding later that the damage to her body "was so extensive that there was nothing left to compare bite marks to".

Although Dr. Amy Learn, a veterinarian at Cary Street Veterinary Hospital, did not know Stephens or her dogs, she said that "dogs don't typically just out of the blue attack their owners, so there is typically some kind of provocation". "The victim had puncture wounds in the skull, and this was not a homicide".

Bethany Lynn Stephens Jan. 28 2017
Bethany Lynn Stephens Jan. 28 2017

The dogs were euthanized Saturday, with the family's permission. Nothing that said she was stabbed.

Sheriff's deputies arrived and spent around an hour to 90 minutes trying to catch the pit bulls, before Bethany's body was taken to the Medical Examiner's Office. There was no particular bleeding inside the oesophagus, which would've been conducive with choking her out. "But. from the evidence that we observed, from the evidence that we collected, that narrative doesn't fit". "None of that", an investigator with the sheriff's office, Shawn Whitlock, told reporters.

There is also no evidence that she had been sexually assaulted, authorities said.

But while isolation and neglect could've been a major factor, Goochland, Virginia County Sheriff James Agnew also made a note that there isn't "any way definitively that we can say what caused the attack". "And they became more isolated where the only contact they had was with each other and it was less and less human contact".

He said Stephens' relatives have requested for the dogs to be euthanized. It wasn't immediately understood to what degree the dogs had been left unattended to and possibly undernourished and how that may in the end led to Bethany's "primal" dogs turning on her. "Once a dog tastes human flesh it is not safe to have that dog around humans".

"What I observed personally, it was in the community's best interest", Sheriff Agnew said. "They are dealing with trying to piece everything together...they wish to remain private".

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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