Sheriff: 22-year-old Va. woman mauled to death by own dogs

On Friday, police identified the woman as 22-year-old Bethany Stephens (Goochland Co. Sheriff's Office)

GOOCHLAND Co., Va. (WSET) — Police in Goochland County, Virginia are investigating after a woman was found dead in a wooded area in the eastern part of the county.

Police said they've determined the woman was mauled to death by her own dogs, according to WRIC in Richmond.

The Goochland County Sheriff's Office said it got a call around 8:15 p.m. Thursday from a man who found the woman's body near the 2200 block of Manakin Road.

The sheriff's office later said it was the woman's father who went looking for his daughter where she often walked her dogs.

On Friday, police identified the woman as 22-year-old Bethany Stephens.

When deputies found her body, they said her body had suffered "severe trauma" and was being guarded by the two 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 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."

Sheriff James Agnew said it appeared the first traumatic injury she suffered was to her throat and face.

"It appears she was taken to the ground, lost consciousness, and the dogs then mauled her to death," he said.

The sheriff's office said deputies had to use tranquilizer guns to catch the dogs.

"It was an absolutely grisly mauling," Goochland County Sheriff Agnew said. "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 dogs are with Goochland Animal Control and the sheriff's office said the dogs will be euthanized.

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