GOOCHLAND COUNTY, VA (WRIC) — The two dogs who authorities say mauled their 22-year-old owner to death have been euthanized, according to the Goochland County Sheriff’s Office.
The department held a press conference Monday to provide an update on the investigation and revealed grisly new details surrounding Brittany Stephens’ death.
The sheriff explained the two dogs were euthanized on Saturday after the victim’s family gave authorities permission to put the animals down.
The medical examiner also told the department that Stephens was attacked by the animals while she was still alive, and that one of the animals had a significant amount of blood on his collar and neck.
The sheriff added that both animals were still attacking the deceased victim when the officers arrived on scene.
The animals will be preserved for evidence.
The Goochland County, Virginia Sheriff’s Office says deputies received a call at 8:18 p.m. Thursday night from a man who discovered the woman’s body in a remote area. Deputies investigated the area overnight for several hours into Friday morning.
On Friday, police identified the woman as 22-year-old Bethany Stephens. Goochland County Sheriff Jim Agnew described Stephens as ‘petite,’ and said the dogs were between 100-120 pounds.
When deputies found her body, they said she had suffered ‘severe trauma’ and was being guarded by the two dogs.
Police said Stephens grew up in Goochland but lived in Glen Allen. She was in the area visiting with her father.
The medical examiner said Stephens had defensive wounds on her hands and arms from fighting off the dogs. The examiner said this proves she was alive when she was attacked.
Meanwhile, one of the Stephens’ best friends said she does not believe the animals would have done anything to hurt her, considering that she had raised them since they were puppies.
“I wasn’t able to see the body, so I can’t tell you what happened. I can’t tell you if it was a blunt force or if it was a mauling, but I know those dogs didn’t do it,” Barbara Norris said.
Friends say Stephens had recently been receiving death threats prior to the incident, which is another reason why they question whether the dogs were to blame.
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