Friends Of The Woman 'Mauled To Death' By Her Pit Bulls Claim There May Be More To Her Death Than Meets The Eye

Her friends don't believe the dogs killed her.

Bethany Stephens Richmond Times Dispatch 

A Virginia woman was found in a field on Friday after being mauled to death by her own pit bulls.

Bethany Lynn Stephens, 22, took her two dogs for a walk in the woods near her home. Her father, John Stephens, found her body two days later at what law enforcement called a "grisly" scene. The two pit bulls that allegedly killed Bethany were aggressively guarding her body.

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“It was an absolutely grisly mauling. In my nearly 40 years in law enforcement, I’ve never seen anything quite like it,” Sheriff James L. Agnew said in a press conference. “I hope I never see anything like it again.”

Her best friend, Barbara Norris was at the scene with Bethany’s father. “All I heard was, 'Don't come down here, it's bad,'" Norris said.


Richmond Times Dispatch

It took hours for law enforcement to capture the pit bulls that weighed around 100-120 pounds each. Local animal control tranquilized the dogs.

According to Sheriff Agnew, torn clothing littered the scene.

Bethany’s wounds were consistent with those of mauling. She suffered a punctured skull along with defensive wounds on her hands and arms, according to authorities. The medical examiner said that these wounds prove that she was alive during the attack.

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“The first traumatic injury to her was to her throat and face,” Agnew said the initial autopsy reports revealed. “It appears she was taken to the ground, lost consciousness, and the dogs then mauled her to death.”



According to Agnew, it was not a homicide, but a local vet wants more answers.

"I think the investigation needs to be ongoing," Dr. Amy Learn, a veterinarian at Cary St. Veterinary Hospital, said. "Dogs don't typically just out of the blue attack their owners, so there is typically some kind of provocation."


Learn thinks there are other factors to the mauling.

"Was there somebody else there? Were they being attacked by somebody, were they trying to defend themselves and their owner from somebody else, from a wild animal? Was it actually something else that attacked the owner? Were there stray dogs, coyotes [or] something else in the woods," Learn asked.

Bethany’s friends don’t agree that the dogs would attack her, either.


“I wasn't able to see the body, so I can’t tell you what happened. I can’t tell you if it was a blunt force or if it was a mauling, but I know those dogs didn't do it,” said Norris.

Norris said Bethany had raised the pit bulls since they were puppies and didn't believe they would ever hurt her, according to WRIC. She said they would “kill you with kisses.”

A man who previously worked with Bethany said that she was very experienced working with animals. He couldn't see her dogs, one of which was named Tonk, mauling their owner.


Friends said that Bethany had been receiving death threats recently, which has led authorities to believe there might be more to the story.

The two pit bulls are being kept at Goochland Animal Control and will be euthanized.

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