Autopsy Confirms Virginia Woman, 22, Mauled To Death And Eaten By Her Own Dogs

Bethany Stephens was mauled by her two dogs while taking them for a walk near her home.

Bethany Stephens was mauled by her two dogs while taking them for a walk near her home.  (Facebook)



An autopsy confirmed a 22-year-old Virginia woman was mauled to death by her own pit bulls, ending a two-month long investigation by local authorities into the gruesome death of Bethany Lynn Stephens, FOX News reports.

Local deputies found the body of Bethany Stephens, 22, in a wooded area off of Manakin Road in Goodland, Va. around 8:20 p.m. on Thursday, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

In a news conference Friday, Sheriff James L. Agnew said Stephens’ body was found guarded by “two very large, brindle-colored pitbull dogs.” He suspected that the dogs had been bred for fighting, Fox News reports.

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Bethany Lynn Stephens’ body was discovered by Goochland deputies about 8:20 p.m. Thursday in a wooded area near the 2200 block of Manakin Road.


In an initial report, the medical examiner’s office said Stephens had defensive wounds on her hands and arms. But the first traumatic injury she suffered was to her throat and face, Agnew said.

“It appears she was taken to the ground, lost consciousness, and the dogs then mauled her to death,” he said, according to a local Fox affiliate.

It was not a homicide, Agnew said.

“It was an absolutely grisly mauling. In my nearly 40 years in law enforcement, I’ve never seen anything quite like it,” he said. “I hope I never see anything like it again.”

Agnew said it took deputies hours to wrangle the dogs, which he estimated each weighed as much as Stephens. Henrico County Animal Control was called for assistance and provided tranquilizers to subdue the dogs. The scene was strewn with blood and articles of clothing.

Agnew said deputies spent eight hours collecting more than 60 pieces of evidence.

“The medical examiner’s report substantiated what we observed,” Agnew said. “I hope that the family can get some peace now. There are going to be those who aren’t going to believe and pick apart all the things that we’ve done, and that’s their prerogative, but unless somebody steps forward with some really strong evidence, we’ve closed this.”

The report ruled out any drugs or alcohol in Stephens’ body and there was no evidence of strangulation, a gunshot, sexual assault or any other kind of attack.

It’s unclear what led to the deadly mauling, but a man who used to work with Stephens said the pet owner loved the canines and was very experienced working with animals, according to WTVR. Other people also said the dogs were social, passive and had a “significant bond” with the woman.

In the time leading up to the attack, however, the dogs were a “little bit neglected,” Sgt. Mike Blackwood said.  The dogs, who were originally indoor dogs, were moved outside to a kennel, where they were left in the cold. One of the pit bulls, rescued from an abusive home, had a history of aggression. Both dogs were euthanized with the permission of Stephens’ family following the attack.

Rest in peace young lady.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends.



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