New information has been released in the tragic case of Bethany Stephens, the 22-year-old dog owner who was found dead last month at her dad’s home in Virginia. Police have declared that she was killed by her own dogs, one of which she raised since he was a puppy, and now there may be new evidence to back that up.
Stephens’ body was found naked and dismembered. Police said they witnessed the dogs eating her and guarding her corpse, which was initially discovered by Stephens’ father who first mistook it as an animal carcass.
"While we were thinking about strategies to catch the dogs, we had turned and looked, the dogs had gone back over to the body," Sheriff Jim Agnew said. "And I observed, along with four other deputy sheriffs observed, the dog eating the rib cage on the body. We were able to shoo them away."
The two dogs, named Tonka and Pac-Man, have since been put down. Last week, necropsies were completed on them, according to CBS News 6. The results revealed that long, wavy hairs which appear to be human were located inside the dogs’ feces, WTVR reports. Police are waiting for lab confirmation that the hair belongs to the dogs’ owner.
Despite the ongoing release of disturbing details in Stephens’ grisly death, conspiracy theories still run rampant. The International Business Times reports that people in Stephens’ community of Goochland County are suspicious of her death. Fueling that is the fact that Stephens was receiving death threats not long before her death, which police attributed to the mauling.
Stephens' boss Tori Trent took to Facebook to express her skepticism of the case.
"These dogs did not do this especially in the manner it was explained and as one of the top K9 behaviour experts you could ever meet - I want to speak to any news stations and all investigating parties involved by speaking on and explaining K9 behaviour. … We demand a true investigation…”
One of Stephens’ dogs, the one she did not have since he was a puppy, was reportedly unneutered, abused by a previous owner and prone to snapping. Police have also claimed that Tonka and Pac-Man appeared to have been neglected.
"The dogs were a little bit neglected towards the end," Sergeant Mike Blackwood said, adding that the pit bulls lived outside in the cold." She [Stephens] would come home maybe five times to her father's house a week on average and take the dogs out. And they became more isolated where the only contact they had was with each other and it was less and less human contact."