Virginia woman was killed by her dogs

Virginia woman was killed by her dogs

"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 Agnew said the Medical Examiner's initial report indicated.

The dogs were captured, and authorities will pursue euthanization.

Sheriff Agnew said, "It was an absolutely grisly mauling".

Bethany Lynn Stephens had been gone for about a day since she left to walk her dogs.

The woman's father called 911 shortly after 8 p.m. on Thursday, after discovering his daughter's body in the woods.

"It was very clear the woman in the woods had suffered severe injuries consistent with being mauled by these dogs", Agnew said. She also sustained puncture wounds on her skull and lost consciousness when she fell to the ground, KTLA reported. He suspected that the dogs had been bred for fighting.

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The 22-year-old Bethany Stephens found dead in a wooded area off of Manakin Road in Goodland, Virginia.

"We spent a lot of time there at the scene and made some observations that, out of respect for the family, we're not releasing", Agnew said.

WTVR reports he discovered her dogs in the woods, and he told the sheriff's office the dogs appeared to be "guarding" Bethany's body. She had defensive wounds on her hands and arms, and it appears that she was alive when the animals attacked.

It was not a homicide, Agnew said. "In my almost 40 years in law enforcement, I've never seen anything quite like it", he said.

Friends say Stephens had recently been receiving death threats prior to the incident, which is another reason why they question whether the dogs were to blame. Agnew says it took deputies hours to wrangle the dogs, which he estimated weighed as much as Stephens, described as 5-foot-1 and 125 pounds.

There was blood at the scene, and Stephens' clothing was strewn about. "I hope I never see anything like it again", said Agnew. Meanwhile, one of the Stephens' best friends said she does not believe the animals would have done anything to hurt her, considering that she had raised them since they were puppies.

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