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.
Sheriff James Agnew said the idea that someone may have killed Bethany Stephens of Goochland County and then framed her dogs “didn’t fit.”
Stephens, 22, had been walking with her dogs when they attacked and killed her, Agnew said last week. In a follow-up press conference on Monday, Agnew reiterated that stance.
“The most important detail that we did not release because we were worried about the well-being of the family is that in the course of trying to capture the dogs ... I observed, as well as four other deputy sheriffs, the dogs eating the ribcage on the body,” Agnew said, according to local media outlet WLWT.
After news of the grisly incident broke, Stephens’ friend and a veterinarian questioned Agnew’s explanation of her death.
But Agnew also said witnesses had given information about Stephens that supported the sheriff’s conclusion.
There was a person considered to be a threat to Stephens, according to WTVR, but Agnew said the investigation eliminated any suspicion of that person.
“A number of witnesses came forward and we were able to put a time frame together and people’s movements together, and they don’t fit with that particular narrative,” Agnew said. “Having said that, we are still following up on those. We are still doing forensic tests.”
A toxicology report of the dogs that will take several months to complete could shed light on why they attacked, according to Agnew.
Investigators also eliminated the possibility that Stephens had been sexually assaulted.
Contrary to previous statements, Agnew said the dogs were not bred for fighting.
They were euthanized over the weekend.
Agnew said there was no evidence of another, larger animal being in the area at the time of the attack, and the medical examiner in the county concluded Stephens’ wounds were caused by a smaller animal, such as a dog.