Goochland County, VA – The body of a Glen Allen woman was found mauled to death on Thursday, Dec. 14.
Goochland County deputies discovered the body of Bethany Lynn Stephens, 22, in a wooded area near the 2200 block of Manakin Road about 8:20 p.m., in what Goochland County Sheriff James L. Agnew described as a “grisly” scene “strewn with blood and articles of clothing.”
“(Her body) was being guarded by two very large, brindle-colored pit bull dogs,” Sheriff Agnew said during a news conference Friday.
The Sheriff said that both dogs belonged to Stephens, and that he suspected they had been bred for fighting.
Stephens’ father had called the Goochland County Sheriff’s Office after he hadn’t seen or heard from his daughter in a day, according to Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Her father went looking for her and found her body, being aggressively guarded by her dogs.
Sheriff Agnew said that it took hours to catch the dogs, and Henrico County Animal Control responded with tranquilizers to subdue them. He estimated that each dog weighed as much as Stephens, who he described as “petite, five-foot-one and 125 pounds.”
It took deputies more than eight hours to collect more than 60 pieces of evidence.
Stephens had a cause of death “consistent with being mauled by these dogs,” according to a preliminary medical examiner’s report. She had defensive wounds on her hands and arms, and it appears that she was alive when the animals attacked.
“The first traumatic injury to her was to her throat and face. It appears she was taken to the ground, lost consciousness, and the dogs then mauled her to death,” according to the medical examiner’s report.
Sheriff Agnew said that Stephens’ death was not a homicide.
“It was an absolutely grisly mauling. In my nearly 40 years in law enforcement, I’ve never seen anything quite like it. I hope I never see anything like it again,” the sheriff said.
The dogs are being held at Goochland County Animal Control. Sheriff Agnew said they were seeking to have the animals destroyed.