The death of Bethany Stephens, who was mauled to death by her two pit bull dogs, has turned into a case that is spawning other theories as to how she died. While reporters are always after the “details” of a case, the grisly graphics offered by the sheriff around the death scene of Bethany Stephens might be seen as too much information for some.
Stephens, 22, was walking her dogs in the Goochland County, Virginia woods when the sibling canines attacked her and brutally killed her, according to Sheriff James Agnew. She was walking her dogs in the woods and her body wasn’t discovered until the next evening with the dogs by her mangled body, guarding her.
The sheriff also revealed that her body was dismembered and she was completely naked except for one boot. The theory that Stephens’ death was done by someone else and covered up by framing the dogs was investigated. This did include a person who was considered to be a threat to her, but an investigation into that possibility eliminated any suspicion of that person, conveyed the sheriff.
Agnew has been battling the accusations that someone may have killed Bethany and framed the dogs for her death when she was found mutilated with her dogs last week. He said the details they’ve compiled during the investigation by law enforcement just didn’t support that theory, according to the Miami Herald.
The police did have what they called “the most important detail” to indicate Stephens’ death was due to a horrific dog mauling, but they wouldn’t release that grisly detail out of respect for the family. But with all the concerns regarding this dog attack being staged to cover up Stephens’ death, he was compelled to do so. Agnew said the following.
“I observed, as well as four other deputy sheriffs, the dogs eating the ribcage on the body.”
Stephens treated these dogs as her children. She even took them with her to work at times. Tonka and Pac-Man were brothers, who were just under 3-years- old of age and from the same litter. She got Tonka first at 8-weeks-old and she later adopted Pac-Man to get him out of an abusive home. They were indoor dogs and very socialized, which was conveyed by friends of Stephens, according to WTVR.com. These two dogs shared her home and were considered her family members.
Recently, Stephens was going through something personal and the dogs were no longer living with her. She left her dogs in outdoor kennels at her father’s house, who wasn’t taking care of them, said Sargent Mike Blackwood, the “dogs weren’t his responsibility.” Blackwood said how the weather changed and the dogs were now living out in the cold.
Stephens would come home “maybe five times a week,” leaving the dogs more isolated and having only each other for company and the dogs were not fed daily. Certified master dog trainer Valerie Paul, who did not know the dogs or their owner said this.
“This was such a huge lifestyle change.There are so many factors within that lifestyle change that we may see as small things that the dogs may see as larger.”
Paul explained how a lifestyle change this extreme is enough to change the temperament of a dog. Her guess is that the dogs got excited during that walk in the woods with Stephens.
“As more and more details come out, I think there probably was some sort of outside influence, but not necessarily another animal or anything like that – just something that could have enticed the dogs to get overexcited and react the way dogs will.”
Paul also pointed out — ” resource guarding, or getting hyped up could quickly turn into a negative energy – especially from dogs who had been cooped up,” according to WTVR.com. Paul said that there is a good chance that this horrific incident “was an energy gone wrong.”
Both dogs were euthanized a few days after this incident and this was done with the family’s permission. They are waiting for necropsy on the dogs as the investigation continues.
The investigation into Stephens’ death has shown that she wasn’t sexually assaulted, she didn’t have any broken bones, and she wasn’t strangled to death. The wounds on Stephens’ body are consistent with a dog attack and there is no evidence of a larger animal being involved. While the investigation isn’t closed, the death of Stephens is considered the result of a horrific dog mauling.