On March 21, a mountain biker made a most horrific discovery in the hills near Summit Lake, when he happened upon a dog who had been killed when someone hanged her from a tree. Investigators later determined that the animal had been “aggressively sexually violated” before being asphyxiated. On Saturday, police were finally able to arrest the man who caused the dog and her family so much pain.
The dog who was so brutally assaulted was a 3-year-old Pitbull mix named Diamond who worked as an emotional support service dog for a little boy. It turns out that that the suspect who was arrested for Diamond’s murder was a family friend who offered to keep her while the owners looked for a new place to live that accommodates dogs. Reportedly, Diamond had only been living with the suspect for about four days when it is alleged that he raped and murdered her by hanging the dog from a tree.
The arrest of James Leroy Evans came as a result of news coverage by a local Fox affiliate on the rape and hanging of the dog in which a reward of $25,000 for information was offered. The original reward amount was $13,000, but after the chilling details of the crime reached the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), their members were so horrified and outraged they donated an additional $12,000 bringing the total to $25,000.
The airing of the case on Washington’s Most Wanted last week led to numerous tips and Evans’ eventual arrest. James Evans is a convicted felon with a criminal history that includes charges of burglary, controlled substance abuse, and domestic violence. The suspect was originally said to be held without bail but that was changed to an amount of $50,000 and is in the Thurston County jail and charged with first-degree animal abuse. Evans is due in court again on April 26.
The mother of the 8-year-old boy who Diamond belonged to has stated that Evans told her that he killed Diamond because she had killed his pet Iguana. However, a necropsy report showed that Diamond had been made to suffer greatly before she died, her hanging a slow and torturous death.
Buzzfeed’s coverage of the tragic end to Monday’s life included an interview with an undercover investigator from the animal rights group Pasado’s Safe Haven, where she spoke of just how horrific the circumstances of the Diamond’s death were.
“What this man allegedly did to Diamond is unspeakable; she suffered tremendously before she died. This person is a danger to animals and people. This will forever be a case that is burned into my mind and my heart. Diamond will never be forgotten, and she will continue to drive me to pursue the monsters who abuse and neglect animals”
Thurston County animal control officer Erika Johnson was the lead investigator on the case and had originally named the dog Justice before the full information became available to her. Evan’s first court appearance following his arrest has apparently revealed quite a lot about his nature. According to Q13 Fox, court records indicated that the suspect seemed “quite pleased with himself” about the fact that he had hanged Diamond after he allegedly raped her too. Johnson herself noted his attitude, saying that she believes “that Mr. Evans felt like he was doing the right thing by putting her down.”
Officer Johnson worked alongside the investigator from Pasado’s Safe Haven, and they had only praises for the work she did to bring the man who had violently raped Diamond before hanging her to justice.
“Working with Officer Johnson is a pleasure, she is extremely passionate and a true leader in this field. This investigation was handled extremely well and because of that a suspect is now in custody.”
The Safe Haven and Thurston County Animal Services are planning to arrange a public memorial service for Diamond. Their Facebook page can be checked to provide more details.
[Image via Q13 Fox]