A Virginia woman was found dead after being mauled by her two dogs, authorities announced on Friday.
On Thursday, 22-year-old Bethany Lynn Stephens was found dead in a wooded area where she frequently walked her two dogs, Goochland County Sheriff James Agnew said during a press conference, according to WTVR.
According to Agnew, Stephens’ father called the police on Thursday, saying he believed he had found his daughter — who he reported as having been missing for “over a day.” Stephen’s father added that it appeared that her dogs were “guarding” her body.
Upon arriving on the scene, the authorities spent “about an hour, hour and a half” trying to catch the dogs, which Agnew described as “two very large, brindle colored pit bull dogs who were very reluctant to be caught.”
Agnew went on to say that they found “various articles of clothing…torn into small pieces” around her body. “It was very clear that the woman in the wounds had suffered some very severe injuries consistent with being mauled by these dogs,” he added.
Sharing the preliminary reports from the Medical Examiner, Agnew said that “It appeared 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.
Agnew also revealed that Stephens had been found with puncture wounds on her skull.
“It was an absolutely grisly mauling. In my 40 years of law enforcement, I’ve never seen anything quite like it,” Agnew added.
The sheriff went on to reveal that the two dogs are currently with Goochland Animal Control and that the sheriff’s office is looking to have the animals euthanized, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
This article originally appeared on PEOPLE.