Officers say a woman was mauled to death by her pit bulls

GOOCHLAND COUNTY, Va. (WRIC/WAVY) — Officers say a 22-year-old woman from Glen Allen was mauled to death by her two pit bulls Thursday night.

Bethany Stephens was found dead in a wooded area of eastern Goochland County after officers were called to the 2200 block of Manakin Road around 8 p.m.

Goochland County Sheriff James Agnew says her body was being guarded by her two very large pit bulls and they could see she had suffered “severe trauma.”

“It was an absolutely grisly mauling. In my forty years of law enforcement I’ve never seen anything quite like it. I hope I never see anything like it again,” said Agnew.

He described Stephens as being “petite,” while both her pit bulls are approximately 100 to 120 pounds.

Bethany Stephens. WRIC Photo.

Initial reports from the medical examiner said Stephens had defensive wounds on her hands and arms, proves she was alive when she was attacked.

Meanwhile, one of the Stephens’ best friends said she does not believe the animals would have done anything to hurt her, considering she had raised them since they were puppies.

“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,” Barbara Norris said.

Friends say Stephens had recently been receiving death threats prior to the incident, which is another reason why they question whether the dogs were to blame.

Police do not believe this to be a homicide, but are waiting on toxicology reports to make a determination.

The dogs are being held at Goochland County Animal Control and Agnew said they are working to have the dogs euthanized.