How did one Michigan woman’s death, where she was fatally mauled by dogs, get ruled a suicide? It’s a puzzling question, as it would imply that 22-year-old Rebecca Hardy fully intended to be killed in a violent and painful manner.
What on Earth in Hardy’s life would make Port Huron, Michigan, authorities jump to such a conclusion, and is it a fair claim?
— People magazine (@people) December 11, 2015
According to a GoFundMe page created to support Rebecca’s daughter, the young mother was walking home from the store when she took a short cut through a Port Huron family’s yard. The woman was attacked by two dogs, a pit bull and a husky, shortly after entering the property.
The GoFundMe page declared that it wasn’t known if Rebecca Hardy was aware of dogs in the yard before being attacked, although page creators later admitted that they were only able to add information as it became publicly available. The Port Huron Police Department posted to Facebook that the victim suffered severe “face and neck injuries.” Although airlifted to the nearest hospital, her injuries from the mauling proved to be too severe and she died from her many injuries.
The two dogs involved in the incident were taken by authorities a short time later, along with one of their puppies. The Times Herald reports the animals were later euthanized. This wasn’t a surprising course of action since animals involved in attacks on humans are thought to be unnecessarily vicious and a threat to the general population.
Said Police Capt. Jeff Baker, “That’s a dog that’s not just protecting its domain.”
— PuppycideDB (@PuppycideDB) December 11, 2015
The death of the dogs is a sore point for dog lovers and animal rights activists, who took to the internet to claim the dogs were acting out their desire to protect their puppies.
A matter of even greater controversy than the death of the dogs is the decision by investigators to rule that Rebecca allowed herself to mauled. Somehow, this woman’s painful end was, in the minds of Michigan authorities, brought about entirely on purpose.
What do officials use as justification for a seemingly off-the-wall explanation? The Oakland County Medical Examiner’s office made the suicide ruling after receiving information about recent tragedies in Rebecca Hardy’s life.
Dr. Ljubisa Dragovic, chief medical examiner for Oakland County, claimed that his office was informed that the Michigan woman had recently lost her home and that she’d been walking barefoot towards the yard where she was fatally mauled. Dragovic also brought up the fact that the Hardy had attempted suicide at least one other time in the past. It’s not known just how recent the alleged suicide attempt by Rebecca was.
Dragovic believes the alleged mental state of the victim, prior suicide attempt, and the act of jumping the fence into the yard with dangerous dogs — the assumption here is that she knew there were dogs and that they’d harm her — paints an unfortunate picture of someone determined to die by being fatally mauled.
Authorities say 2 dogs that fatally mauled a Michigan jogger last month have been euthanized. http://t.co/4JBhMUKYA6 pic.twitter.com/4RzIHAJ4D4
— WOOD TV8 (@WOODTV) August 6, 2014
Unsurprisingly, this is a conclusion that’s been utterly rejected by Rebecca Hardy’s loved ones, who are angry to see the deceased woman painted as someone with no desire to live. Her fiancé, Matthew Grattan, said that he found it hard to believe that Rebecca would do something so drastic, especially since the couple had an 18-month-old daughter together.
“I, in no way, shape or form believe that she was looking to hurt herself on that day. She had a little girl…She wanted us to be a family.”
Grattan told the Times Herald that he disputes the official cause of death.
— Tim Kinser (@tdkinser) December 9, 2015
It’s a troubling situation to be sure, one where authorities and those closest to the deceased Michigan woman can’t seem to agree if this mauling was a tragic accident or a bizarre act of suicide.
Do you believe Rebecca Hardy committed suicide or is this a case of Michigan authorities getting it horribly wrong? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.
[AP Photo/The Saginaw News, Alex Slitz]