Bethany Stephens’ father went looking for his daughter after he hadn’t seen her in over a day.
So he decided to seek her out in a wooded area in Goochland, Virginia, where the 22-year-old often took her two pit bulls out for a stroll, according to Richmond.com. That’s when he said he found the two dogs “guarding” the body of his daughter, who police say was mauled and killed by the pets.
He called 911 on Thursday night, and officers arrived just over an hour later, WTVR reported.
It was a scene that Sheriff Jim Agnew said he likely won’t forget.
“It was an absolutely grisly mauling,” he said, according to WTVR. “In my 40 years of law enforcement I've never seen anything quite like it. I hope I never see anything like it again.”
It took eight hours for deputies to collect over 60 pieces of evidence spread across the bloodied scene, including pieces of clothing, Richmond.com reported. And according to WIRC, it also took some time for animal control to tranquilize the two pit bulls, who weighed between 100 and 120 pounds.
For reference, Agnew said Stephens is “petite” and weighed around 125 pounds. She had injuries to her throat and her face — and her skull had puncture wounds, according to NBC12.
There were no signs of strangulation, leading Agnew to say Stephens likely wasn’t killed in a homicide, according to WTVR.
“The first traumatic injury to her was to her throat and face," Agnew said in a press conference, according to Richmond.com. “It appears she was taken to the ground, lost consciousness and the dogs then mauled her to death.”
Agnew said he will push to euthanize the dogs, which are currently with animal control, NBC12 wrote.