St George News

Mysterious cat mutilation; owner seeks answers, offers $2,500 reward

SPRINGDALE – Horrified pet owner Sherry Teresa found her cat dead and mutilated Saturday night on Anasazi Plateau in Springdale and is offering a $2,500 reward for the arrest and conviction of the person responsible.

The potential case of animal cruelty has a Springdale neighborhood on high alert after the cat was found severed in half. Teresa said her cat was trapped, drained of blood, surgically cut in half and had his heart and lungs removed before being left outside her home.

Sherry Teressa's cat, Khepri, before he was killed

Sherry Teresa’s 11-year-old cat, Khepri, before his death.

Teresa’s 11-year-old cat, Khepri, was lying in her lap while she sat in a chair reading a book until about midnight Saturday. Teresa then went to bed, leaving her sliding doors and windows open for fresh air.

“I have been up here for about five-and-a-half years, and I came up here from Fallbrook, which is in San Diego County, and coyotes were thick as thieves,” Teresa said, “so these cats knew about coyotes, and they were very cautious about going outside, especially at night.”

Teresa said Khepri normally wakes her up in the morning, but on Sunday morning, when she awoke at about 7 a.m., Khepri wasn’t there. After searching her two-story home for her cat, Teresa went out on her balcony and saw a black lump about 100-125 feet from her home.

“I grabbed a towel and went down there ’cause I saw he wasn’t moving,” Teresa said. “I’m a wildlife biologist, it’s my profession, and I looked at him and I just thought ‘this is so odd, because he’s not eaten on.’ He was cut in half, heart and lungs were gone, and there wasn’t a drop of blood anywhere, and he was laid there with his front paws crossed over each other. I just kept looking at him and I just thought, ‘this is too strange.’”

Khepri’s suspicious death

Teresa said she has seen a lot of animal kills, and typically when another animal has done the killing, you don’t find the carcass because the animal has carried if off to eat, but Khepri’s remains hadn’t been disturbed at all.

“It was like he had been gently laid there,” she said. “He wasn’t thrown, he wasn’t in an odd angle – it’s like, if he was alive, he would have been sleeping.”

Teresa picked Khepri up and wrapped him in the towel. After she got home from church, Teresa said she carefully looked at him again.

“It was like surgical incisions,” she said. “Very, very clean cuts. Cat’s skin is very tough, and when it’s animals, they rip and tear, and that wasn’t what this was. You could see along the rib cage where it had been cut.”

As she became more convinced Khepri hadn’t been killed by another animal, Teresa kept the cat’s body cold and took him to Dr. Casey Wittwer at the Zion Veterinary Clinic in Hurricane Monday morning.

“I pleaded with (Wittwer) to tell me that this was a mountain lion or bobcat or something that killed this cat,” she said, “and he said ‘I can’t do that; this cat’s been killed by a human.’”

Khepri’s examination

The report from Khepri’s autopsy, which was performed by Wittwer, said all of the cat’s organs had been removed except for the colon; there was no blood pool and no punctures on the remaining body.

Wittwer wrote in the report:

The square section of body missing appears to have been cut with surgical precision. The lines are too smooth to have been a wild animal. The remaining bone fragments from the ribs and pelvis are fairly smooth.

Due to the symmetry of the cuts and the straight lines, I suspect a knife or saw was used. The broken jaw and damaged nails are probably from the captor hitting Khepri and him fighting back.

In the final diagnosis listed on Khepri’s autopsy report, Wittwer ruled the cat’s death as being due to human-caused mutilation by a blade or saw.

“The cat’s jaw was broken – the bottom jaw was broken vertically – and so the vet said probably someone stuck a pipe in there to knock him out before they killed him or cut him in half, and I’m just thinking ‘this poor cat,’ and the vet said he did fight,” Teresa said. “His nails were broken and he was scraping against the cage (the captor had placed him in), and there is the possibility of DNA under his claws.”

Wittwer said they will save Khepri’s body for a week prior to sending it out for cremation to see if the city of Springdale wants to do any forensic testing.

Springdale Police Sgt. Garen Brecke said the case is under investigation and declined to comment on any speculations as to what may have caused the cat’s death, but he said they have never seen anything like this in the area before.

Khepri“We have cats going missing because we have wildlife in the area – we live in the mountains,” Brecke said, “but no, we have not ever found a carcass before.”

Brecke said he doesn’t think DNA testing would be performed in an animal cruelty case.

In the meantime, Teresa has been busy putting up flyers around Springdale, Rockville, Virgin and Hurricane and is offering a $2,500 reward for the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for Khepri’s death. She said she believes somebody has to know something about the killing. She also said she no longer sleeps with her doors and windows open and that she sleeps with a gun nearby.

Teresa said:

Where we live, someone had to have been watching me because this took a lot of prep – they had to trap this cat, they had to remove him, do what they did to him, and then they had to come back and place him.

“Whoever this is and why ever they did it, they need to be stopped,” she added. “This is how serial killers start – torturing animals. He was such a sweet cat; it just makes me sick. And I’m still sick. And I’ve got to tell you, I’m scared. It’s so surreal. I still can’t believe that it happened.”

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact the Springdale Police Department at 435-772-3434.

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Email: kscott@stgnews.com

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  38 Comments
  1. wowjustwow August 14, 2014 at 3:52 pm · Reply

    The don’t think they would do DNA testing on an animal cruelty case? In this situation I think in the interest of public safety that they should do anything and everything to catch this person. It truly is just a matter of time before this sicko attempts to do this to a person.

    • Amy August 21, 2014 at 7:35 pm · Reply

      I FULLY AGREE!!!!! And sherry is right, this IS how serial killers start! People like that need to be stopped. Best by a round of bullets in his chest. This guy is EVIL and People like that can’t be healed. They aren’t stupid! He knew exactly what he was doing so to claim insanity afterwards, as many like to do is scary beyond recognition! The Springdale PD should not take this case easy or brush it off as just an animal. This was extremely detailed work! Glad sherry has a gun!

  2. sickenedby humanity August 14, 2014 at 4:54 pm · Reply

    OMG! WHY?! HUNT THE SOB DOWN AND DO TO HIM WHAT HE DID TO THAT POOR SWEET KITTY!

  3. BOBBER August 14, 2014 at 5:11 pm · Reply

    I know they got a lot of those devil-worshiper liberal types up there in springdale… I’d be very very afraid with a case like this… y’all got a psychopath loose up there…

    • zzaezyro August 14, 2014 at 9:24 pm · Reply

      “those devil-worshiper liberal types”
      Just….wow….I have no words…

    • Not a Bishops Wife. August 14, 2014 at 11:56 pm · Reply

      Yea and you right wing religious types are completely innocenof all crimes right? WRONG!! Adolfo Hitler, Mary Tudor, Jim jones, Warren Jeff’s, Robert Stoner , Fred Phelps and John D. Lee come to mind. Each of those people committed crimes ranging from simple battery to child abuse to MASS MURDER! I’m just saying that you might want to take a look at your own backyard before you go blaming liberals for everything bad from now on. Oh and before you go on ranting about how I must be liberal because of this or that, be warned that I have never voted for a Democrat. Just sayin’ :)

  4. Koolaid August 14, 2014 at 5:41 pm · Reply

    What if it’s discovered that some good mormon boys are doing this? Will this story suddenly disappear.

    • Ynot August 14, 2014 at 7:25 pm · Reply

      Kook laid. I think it was you!!! Your such a hater … GET A LIFE!

      • KOOLAID August 15, 2014 at 11:40 am · Reply

        IMOA, around these parts, it seems the good mission served or temple worthiness is the ticket out of jail and the issue disappears.

    • Rachel August 15, 2014 at 11:47 am · Reply

      He who casts the first stone…

  5. Judy August 14, 2014 at 5:53 pm · Reply

    That is horrible and I am sorry for your loss. I would be devastated. Something evil is going on, because there was just two puppies beheaded and found dead outside of Salt Lake City (I saw on the News). I also heard something about beheaded dog or dogs in the Reno area. I wonder what is going on.

  6. BOBBER August 14, 2014 at 6:07 pm · Reply

    And you know there were satanists involved because this was a black cat.

    • zzaezyro August 15, 2014 at 9:49 pm · Reply

      ??????????

    • Incognegro (Josh Dalton) August 16, 2014 at 10:26 am · Reply

      *Laughing* You took the words right off of my finger tips!

      • Incognegro (Josh Dalton) August 16, 2014 at 10:28 am · Reply

        Leaning more towards racist than satanist….

  7. Lavinia August 14, 2014 at 6:59 pm · Reply

    The scary part is, that this person could possibly just be walking around like everything is a-ok after doing something like this. If they can walk around without that on their conscience, without any problem , then they are capable of many demonic things. The chances the person that did this lives alone is small. Someone knows, or suspects. Don’t fear this creep. Call it in anonymously. It may be your own life you’re saving.And the chances of the person that did this living alone is small, so someone knows. Don’t fear this creep, call it in anonymous. If this person can do this to an animal, they can and probably will do it to a human.
    At least keep a sample of the possible DNA containing parts. But if anything else happens to a small child or adult there it could possibly be used as a link. Never discard DNA!

  8. Ynot August 14, 2014 at 7:47 pm · Reply

    LETTER SENT TO SPRINGDALE CHIEF OF POLICE

    Please do not let this go as an animal control issue. This is a Person that needs to be found at all costs. You know this is more serious than a hate or disregard for cats or animals. It is additionally disturbing the suggestion there may NOT be DNA testing done under the cats claws. This THING (individual) was up prowling REAL LATE and then took the cat BACK at its home for heaven sakes. That is a message too YOU! PLEASE KEEP THE COMMUNITY INFORMED ON WHAT IS TRYING TO BE DONE IN THIS CASE. PLEASE!

  9. redrox August 14, 2014 at 8:27 pm · Reply

    The good doctor’s name is Casey Wittwer. I

    I hope they find the sick person who killed this cat. There is an illness there

  10. HUMMYNBYRD August 14, 2014 at 8:35 pm · Reply

    Very disturbing…this person could very well be a serial killer in the making, DNA testing is probably a good idea, if they could find this person and get them psychiatric help they may be able to keep him from excalating and turning into everyones worst nightmare…..just saying.

  11. killjoy August 14, 2014 at 8:59 pm · Reply

    Springdale police chief. Do a dna test please. Help catch this person quickly. I’m afraid for my family and friends also whoever else this demon wearing human skin may come across. Please stop this before this demon kills a person.

  12. ouch August 14, 2014 at 9:32 pm · Reply

    This needs investigation all directions midnight to 7am ?? Foul play seems to questionable. Some one close to home many???

  13. Real Life August 14, 2014 at 9:39 pm · Reply

    The person, or persons who did this obviously do not believe in karma as I do. Something very, very bad will happen to them. Maybe not today, but soon.

  14. Sanjour August 15, 2014 at 9:10 am · Reply

    My name is Sanjour I like koolais it’s refreshing and then I pee it out into the john the koolais is flushed down the sewer it goes and the koolaid then mixes in with other urine and fieces they blend to make a toxic waste with horrible smell. As you can see, the comments prove Koolaid is that same waste. You can also tell they were sexually abused. Koolaid mother koolaid father must also swim in the sewer. The fowl stench from their breath poisons the rest of society. In my country we would take koolaid into public and expose his true identity and flush him into his eternal reward, This frothy foam of waste awaits him as he drowns in his and our expelled waste, for Koolaid will drink this up to quench his thrust in the hell below.

  15. Incognegro (Josh Dalton) August 15, 2014 at 9:10 am · Reply

    There are worse things that happen! Like leaving your infant child in the backseat of a hot car! Why pull DNA from a cats claws to catch the perp charge him with killing a cat and not charge a mother who kills her child. What is the justification for this…?

    • Cclady August 15, 2014 at 8:26 pm · Reply

      Josh, you’re right that the loss of an infants life does trumph that of a cat (which is hard for me to say being an extreme animal lover) but the reason this is such a hot topic is that most seriel killers and some psychopaths have a history of animal mutilation. It’s about the fact that we could have a criminally depraved individual in our neighborhood. So there could be worst things that happen, like this person moves on from killing cats to something worse…….let’s hope they are caught or seek help before that happens.

  16. Rachel August 15, 2014 at 11:48 am · Reply

    This is extremely frightening. I’m reminded of certain serial killers, particularly Jack the Ripper. There was some surgical precision to his(her?) killings as well. The person who has done this clearly needs some help before it continues and/or escalates.

  17. SAGEMOON August 15, 2014 at 1:01 pm · Reply

    Wow, this is very creepy and disturbing. I feel for Teresa. Not only does she miss her companion, but fears for herself at night. I hope law enforcement takes this very seriously and keeps a close eye on her home. The sicko who did this must be found and stopped. I’m wondering if the police won’t submit the DNA, can a fund be started to pay for Teresa to have the DNA sample ran herself? If it’s just money that is the issue to the police…sheesh.

  18. BOBBER August 15, 2014 at 1:46 pm · Reply

    Oh yea, and only a devil worshiper would drain the blood out of a cat. Expect to find a few more cats before the killer moves to larger animals and perhaps eventually humans…

  19. Experiment August 15, 2014 at 8:28 pm · Reply

    Aliens.

  20. DAVE August 16, 2014 at 11:34 am · Reply

    Does anyone find it odd / disturbing, the comment that was submitted by “Sanjour” on August 15, 2014 at 9:10 am? – If there is any way to trace a submitted comment (IP Adress) on these stories, I would definitely start with questioning this person!

  21. Koolaid August 16, 2014 at 1:51 pm · Reply

    I wonder if the herd who believed in what B Young said about black people also applied to that to black cats?

  22. Sherry August 19, 2014 at 4:23 pm · Reply

    I’m the owner of the cat that was killed. Thanks to all of you that expressed sympathy. I will be keeping the DNA samples and will have it tested myself. FYI, the reward is now up to $5,500 and growing thanks to the Humane Society of Utah and generous friends. Please help me find this person! Thank you!

    • SAGEMOON August 20, 2014 at 9:37 am · Reply

      I’m glad you are planning on running the DNA. I think that is an important step. I hope you are feeling safe these days.

  23. Ynot August 19, 2014 at 6:28 pm · Reply

    Sherry. Are there ANY developments at all? Are they trying as hard to find this killer as much as they are trying to find the person that shot the Pitt with arrows the other day?

  24. Amy August 21, 2014 at 7:36 pm · Reply

    I FULLY AGREE!!!!! PLEASE Sprindale PD, PLEASE assist with this and do a DNA test!!! You are underestimating the severity of this case! And sherry is right, this IS how serial killers start! People like that need to be stopped. Best by a round of bullets in his chest. This guy is EVIL and People like that can’t be healed. They aren’t stupid! He knew exactly what he was doing so to claim insanity afterwards, as many like to do is scary beyond recognition! The Springdale PD should not take this case easy or brush it off as just an animal. This was extremely detailed work! Glad sherry has a gun!

  25. Sophie August 22, 2014 at 1:20 am · Reply

    Sherry, not sure if you knew, I just barely thought of this, Sunday was Black Cat Appreciation Day!! It may have targeted the Cat more than you, even tho it’s still not less scary!!

  26. Twenty Three September 18, 2014 at 6:41 pm · Reply

    This is why my two cats stay indoors at all times. There are too many dangers out there, not just from cars and wild animals, but from evil humans. It has been a month since this was reported. Has anyone seen any follow-up information? Did they do DNA testing on the cat’s claws, or did anyone respond to the reward offer? That’s a lot of money, so a lot of people would jump at the chance to turn in a neighbor, relative, or acquaintance if they had evidence that the person was torturing animals.

  27. Misty September 21, 2014 at 5:46 pm · Reply

    My neighbors cat was just found last week “top half only” early in the morning almost as if staged in the yard. No blood, clean surgical like incision, cautery cut no blood present, all internal organs removed. We are in Wilmington, NC there has been multiple cats go missing the last year, but none found dead and especially not in this way. I believe their is some sort of significance to this type of animal slaying, whether it be cult, or ritualistic killing. I have done some research and it is apparently something that has occurred many times and is growing over the last 10 years all over the USA. I think that it is a subject of interest and we need to really take notice.

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