Authorities have released more details about the a brutal pitbull attack on a Virginia woman in an attempt to dispel theories of foul play.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Bethany Lynn Stephens was found dead on Thursday night two days after she took her two pitbulls for a walk in the woods. Her father had gone searching for her after she went missing and was the first to discover her body.
“The victim had defensive wounds on her hands and arms trying to keep the dogs away from her, which would be consistent with being attacked while she was still alive,” Goochland County Sheriff James Agnew told WTVR.
“It appears she was taken to the ground, lost consciousness, and the dogs then mauled her to death.”
Reports of the 22-year-old woman’s death have been met with scrutiny and skepticism about the likelihood that her beloved dogs would turn on her. Bethany’s friends told WRIC that she had been getting death threats, and that they didn’t believe the dogs alone were responsible for her death.
“Those dogs would not attack her,” Bethany’s friend Barbara Norris told the news station.
“They’d kill you with kisses.”
On Monday, Sheriff James Agnew gave a press conference revealing more details about the grisly attack, in an attempt to quiet speculation.
The dogs were still with the woman’s body when she was found, and the sheriff said Stevens suffered obvious serious injuries.
“I observed, as well as four other deputy sheriffs, the dogs eating the ribcage on the body. The injuries were very severe,” Agnew said, as reported by Yahoo News.
“It was quite apparent that she had been dead for quite some time,” the sheriff said in the news conference.
He also addressed speculation that Stevens had been killed by a bear or another larger animal.
“The medical examiner… made it pretty clear that it was not a large animal because the bite wounds didn’t puncture her skull,” Sheriff Agnew said.
“There were also scratch marks consistent with a smaller animal than something like a bear.”
The pitbulls have since been euthanized, with the family’s permission.
“What I observed personally, it was in the community’s best interest,” Sheriff Agnew said in the news conference.
“Once a dog tastes human flesh it is not safe to have that dog around humans.”
[Feature image: Facebook/Bethany Stevens]