Woman Found Dead After Her Own Dogs Maul Her While on a Walk

A 22-year-old woman in Virginia has been found dead after she was seemingly mauled by her two dogs, PEOPLE reports.

On Thursday, Bethany Lynn Stephens was found dead in a wooded area where she typically walked her two dogs. The woman's father called the police Thursday, saying he thought he found his daughter after he reported her missing. He told police that it seemed as though her dogs were "guarding" her body.

The authorities then spent "about an hour, hour and a half" trying to catch her dogs, who were described as "two very large, brindle colored pit bull dogs who were very reluctant to be caught."

According to Goochland County Sheriff James Agnew "various articles of clothing...torn into small pieces" were found around her body.

"It was very clear that the woman in the wounds suffered some very severe injuries consistent with being mauled by these two dogs," Agnew said.

Agnew shared the preliminary reports from the Medical Examiner, which suggested the "attack was a violent attack initiated by the victims' dogs while the victim was out for a walk with the dog."

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

The victim was also found with puncture wounds on her skull.

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"It was an absolutely grisly mauling. In my 40 years of law enforcement, I've never seen anything quite like it," Agnew said.

The two pets are currently with Animal Control and they will potentially be euthanized.