New details released about deadly dog attack case

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The dogs, named Tonka and Pacman, were found by Stephens father after he went looking for her in a wooded area on Friday, one day after she disappeared.

Agnew said the dogs "were not bred for fighting", contradicting what he said was inaccurate information authorities received from someone at the scene who told investigators she thought the two brindle-colored pit bulls came from an organization that rehabilitates fighting dogs.

It's still unclear what led to the deadly mauling, but a man who used to work with the Stephens said the pet owner loved the canines and was very experienced working with animals, according to WTVR. "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 took the sheriff's deputies more than an hour to wrangle the dogs, which were said to weigh about as much as Stephens did. "In my almost 40 years in law enforcement, I've never seen anything quite like it", Agnew said, according to

One friend told local media that the dogs were gentle; "they'd kill you with kisses", Barbara Norris told WWBT News.

"While it is not an everyday occurrence, it's not rare and it happens with some frequency in this country", Goochland County Sheriff Jim Agnew added.

Sheriff James Agnew said after talking with Bethany Stephens' family for several hours Monday, they made a decision to release more details to the public.

Bethany Lynn Stephens Jan. 28 2017
Bethany Lynn Stephens Jan. 28 2017

The only interaction they had with people, investigators say, was when Stephens would come by to feed them and take them for a walk. NO FOUL PLAY EXPECTEDThere was a person considered to be a threat to Stephens, though Agnew emphasized that he does not think her death was foul play.

He said small bite marks were found on the body and the wounds didn't puncture Stephens' skull, ruling out that a larger animal, such as a bear, was to blame for the attack.

But the body was Stephens', and police say the pit pulls were eating her.

The sheriff says the woman was no match for the 100-125 pound dogs.

Sheriff's deputies then collected more than 60 pieces of evidence from the scene of Stephens' death, which was covered with blood and shredded pieces of her clothing.

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. "We are still doing forensic tests".

Agnew also revealed the captured animals being euthanized, after having received the family's consent on Saturday. The dogs, which were previously indoor animals, were left in a kennel outside with little human contact, aside from a visit from Stephens about five times a week, Blackwood told reporters. "Once a dog tastes human flesh it is not safe to have that dog around humans".

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