New details released about deadly dog attack case

Posted December 21, 2017

The distraught friends of the 22-year-old woman who was mauled to death by her pit bulls while out on a walk in the woods claim that the dogs would never hurt their owner and believe foul play was involved in her death.

Bethany Stephens, 22, was found about 8:20 p.m. Thursday in a wooded area in Goodland, WTVR reported.

"It appeared the attack was a violent attack initiated by the victims' dogs while the victim was out for a walk with the dogs", Sheriff James Agnew said of the preliminary findings from the Medical Examiner's Office. "In my almost 40 years in law enforcement, I've never seen anything quite like it", he said.

A Carytown Veterinarian said it's highly unusual for a dog to attack its owner, and she has a lot of questions about what actually happened when a Goochland woman was allegedly mauled to death by her dogs. He told The Washington Post earlier that investigators don't suspect foul play and that evidence recovered from the scene, including defensive wounds on her hands and arms, showed that the dogs were responsible for her death.

It took the sheriff's deputies more than an hour to wrangle the dogs, which were said to weigh about as much as Stephens did.

Stephens' friends said it has been hard not only to wrap their minds around the fact that they've lost a friend, but that the culprits are her two pets.

Blackwood said Stephens had left the dogs with her father.

Authorities said the dogs were euthanized shortly after the attack.

"There was no evidence of any larger animal there", Agnew said in response to the widespread belief that perhaps Stephens was attacked by a wild animal, possibly a coyote or bear.

He said Stephens' relatives have requested for the dogs to be euthanized.

After speculation that a Virginia woman's pit bulls couldn't have killed her, the sheriff overseeing the case released gruesome details to support that conclusion. "I observed, as well as four other deputy sheriffs, the dogs eating the ribcage on the body". "It's very possible there was something else that scared them, and unfortunately either they got into a fight with one another, and she was trying to break it up, or one or both redirected towards her in the moment".

"Ms. Stephens was terribly, terribly injured, but it was very apparent to us that she had been dead for quite some time", Agnew told reporters, adding later that the damage to her body "was so extensive that there was nothing left to compare bite marks to". "I wasn't able to see the body, so I can't tell you what happened". "Having said that, we are still following up on those; we are still doing forensic tests". Family gave permission. Presser at 4pm.

"What I observed personally, it was in the community's best interest", Agnew said.

The toxicology reports on Stephens should be back in 90 days.