A woman who was found dead in the woods in Goochland
County, Virginia, was mauled to death by her own dogs,
The body of 22-year-old woman Bethany Lynn Stephens was found
by her father on Thursday at around 8 p.m., according to
After failing to hear from his daughter, the concerned parent
called 911 and then went looking for her in an area where
she often walked her dogs, Pac-Man and Tonka.
Photos of the victim and her dogs:
Stephens’s father eventually discovered his daughter’s mangled
body, which he said was being aggressively “guarded”
by the two animals.
Goochland County Sheriff James Agnew said that once officers
arrived at the scene, they spent over an hour trying
to capture the large pit bulls, which are believed to
both weigh as much as
their 5-foot-1, 125-pound owner.
Stephens’ body was then taken to a medical examiner’s office,
where the gruesome details of the attack came to light.
“The first traumatic injury to her was to her throat and face,”
Sheriff Agnew said after reviewing the medical examiner’s
initial report. “It appears she was taken to the ground, lost
consciousness, and the dogs then mauled her to death.”
“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.”
“It was an absolutely grisly mauling,” he added. “In my 40
years of law enforcement, I’ve never seen anything quite like
it. I hope I never see anything like it again.”
The two dogs are currently being held at the Goochland Animal
Control Center, where they are scheduled to be
But despite reports from the medical examiner stating that
Stephens’ injuries were consistent with being mauled, friends
of the victim have spoken out to advocate for the dogs,
claiming details of the story don’t add up.
Barbara Norris, who says she was best friends with the
victim, told WWBT that the dogs
she knew would never turn on her friend like that.
“Those dogs would not attack her,” said Norris. “They’d
kill you with kisses.” A Change.org petition started by
Norris on the dogs’ behalf has already racked up thousands of
“PLEASE help save these poor babies! Somethings not right with
this story and they are euthanizing her babies,” she wrote on