2020 dog bite fatalities ::

It often takes several weeks to identify fatal dog attack parameters.1 This is why recent dog bite fatalities may not appear on this page. In the interim, please visit Recent Fatalities on our blog.

2020 dog bite fatality victims

2020 dog bite fatality, fatal pack attack, Kay Torres

Kay Torres

52-years old | Taos Pueblo (Tribal Land), New Mexicoicon

Kay Torres, 52-years old, was killed by a pack of dogs on tribal land, according to a dispatch log provided by Taos County. A caller reported seeing Torres' body surrounded by a group of dogs that were attacking her near the intersection of Leaf Arrow Lane and Willow Lane, states the log. The caller fended off the dogs with a stick. When the dogs moved away, the caller could see bite marks on Torres' arms and legs. "It appears that Kay Torres was killed by a pack of dogs," Taos Pueblo Tribal Police Officer James Gladeau reported from the scene, according to the log. Torres had worked for Taos Pueblo Head Start and Taos Public Schools over the years, according to her sister, Sandra Bible. The log report did not indicate how many dogs were involved in the attack, the breeds of dogs involved or if the dogs were captured. As of January 18, the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator has not confirmed her cause of death. [source citations]

Date of death: January 8, 2020 Chained: No
Breed of dog: Unknown Relationship to dog: Non-family
Sex of dog: Unknown Owner of dog: Unknown
Spay/Neuter: Unknown Multiple dogs: Yes
On/Off property: Off Criminal charges: Pending
2020 dog bite fatality, fatal pit bull attack, McKenzie Terwell

McKenzie Terwell

4-months old | Dayton, Ohioicon

McKenzie Terwell, 4-months old, was mauled to death by a family pit bull while her mother was asleep on the couch. The baby died of exsanguination (bleeding) due to extensive soft tissue damage, according to Montgomery County Corner, Dr. Kent Harshberger. The manner of death was ruled an accident. On January 9, just before midnight, police were dispatched to 114 Vermont Avenue after reports of an infant not breathing. The baby's father, Parker Terwell, called 911 after he arrived home and found the infant alone lying on the floor and not breathing. Terwell said the baby's mother, Mary Shoup, was asleep on the living room sofa. Terwell informed officers that "Shoup is on prescription medication." These prescriptions included: Alprazolam, Bupropion and Sertraline, according to an affidavit seeking a search warrant. Terwell also told officers he had thrown a Marijuana bong into the kitchen trashcan before police arrived, according to the affidavit. As of February 8, no criminal charges have been filed. [source citations]

Date of death: January 9, 2020 Chained: No
Breed of dog: Pit bull Relationship to dog: Family
Sex of dog: Unknown Owner of dog: Mother
Spay/Neuter: Unknown Multiple dogs: No
On/Off property: On Criminal charges: Pending
2020 dog bite fatality, fatal pit bull attack, Donald Abner

Donald Abner

55-years old | Rockcastle County, Kentuckyicon

Pending release of contributing cause of death

Donald "Donnie" Abner, 55-years old, died after being attacked by a pit bull and a female friend. About 3:40 am, deputies were dispatched to a home on Pug Lane after receiving a 911 call from a neighbor who witnessed a woman assaulting a man and commanding her pit bull to attack him. Arriving deputies found 38-year old Melissa Wolke on top of Abner punching him in the face, while the dog attacked him. Police had to Tase Wolke to get her off Abner. The Rockcastle Coroner's Office said Abner suffered dog bite wounds. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Wolke was arrested and charged with murder. Wolke appeared to have blood on her hands and feet, and had a large clump of hair in her hands that was consistent with the victim's hair. Wolke later told Kentucky State Police that she was going "redneck" on the man and that she was the owner of the pit bull "Denali," a former fighting dog. The initial cause of death was ruled to be asphyxiation. As of February 8, the degree of injury inflicted by the dog is unknown. [source citations]

Date of death: January 10, 2020 Chained: No
Breed of dog: Pit bull Relationship to dog: Non-family
Sex of dog: Male Owner of dog: Friend
Spay/Neuter: Unknown Multiple dogs: No
On/Off property: On Criminal charges: Yes
2020 dog bite fatality, fatal pit bull attack, Julian Connell

Julian Connell

1-month old | Lafayette, Indianaicon

Julian Connell, 1-month old, was killed by a family pit bull-mix. The attack occurred in the 1900 block of Greenbush Street. Police were dispatched to the home after the infant's teenage brother called 911 -- the brother and the baby's mother were in the home when the attack occurred. The pit bull had been "fighting" with the family's beagle prior to attacking the infant. "The two dogs were engaged in some sort of a fight in the bedroom where the infant was staying. The brother was actually able to separate the beagle away from the pit bull, take it out of the room and when he returned, he found that the pit bull had attacked the infant," Lafayette Police Lt. Matt Gard said. An officer shot and killed the dog in order to reach the infant and begin life-saving aid. Connell was taken to a local hospital, where he died. A preliminary autopsy showed the infant died from "multiple sharp force injuries" after sustaining dog bites to his head and neck, the Tippecanoe County Coroner said. The manner of death was ruled an accident. [source citations]

Date of death: January 25, 2020 Chained: No
Breed of dog: Pit bull-mix Relationship to dog: Family
Sex of dog: Unknown Owner of dog: Mother
Spay/Neuter: Unknown Multiple dogs: No
On/Off property: On Criminal charges: Pending
2020 dog bite fatality, fatal pit bull attack, Harvey Harmon Jr.

Harvey Harmon, Jr.

76-years old | Attala County, Mississippiicon

Harvey Harmon, Jr., 76-years old, was killed by up to four dogs. The attack occurred at his home on Highway 14 West, near Sallis. He was found dead in his front yard at 9:30 am on January 30. When deputies arrived, all four dogs were at the scene, two pit bulls that belonged to Harmon's nephew and two mixed-breed stray dogs. His body was laying near one chained up pit bull; the other pit bull had broken free from its chain. The two stray dogs were nearby. Harmon appeared to have been dragged from his wheelchair by the four dogs, Attala County Coroner Sam Bell said. Harmon died at the scene of "blunt force trauma due to a pit bull attack." The nephew and the dogs lived with Harmon. According to the nephew, "they weren't aggressive dogs, but clearly, they were aggressive that day," Sheriff Tim Nail said. "The owner did take responsibility and agreed to have the dogs euthanized," Nail said. A veterinarian was called to the scene and euthanized three dogs. One of the strays fled and was never found. [source citations]

Date of death: January 30, 2020 Chained: Mixed
Breed of dog: Pit bull (2)
Mixed-breed (2)
Relationship to dog: Family
Sex of dog: Unknown Owner of dog: Nephew
Spay/Neuter: Unknown Multiple dogs: Yes
On/Off property: On Criminal charges: Pending
2020 dog bite fatality, fatal pit bull attack, Sterling Ver Meer

Sterling Ver Meer

5-years old | Oro Grande, Californiaicon

Sterling Ver Meer, 5-years old, was killed by a family pit bull while under the care of a babysitter. The attack occurred just before 3:00 pm in the 15100 block of Portland Street in Oro Grande, an unincorporated area in San Bernardino County. One adult witnessed the attack and called 911. Arriving deputies found the boy with traumatic injuries. "The child succumbed to his injuries before law enforcement and fire officials arrived," the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department said. The child lived at the home where the attack occurred. Two relatives, a female cousin and an uncle, were babysitting the child while his parents were away at work. The two left the child alone briefly in a stand-alone playroom in the backyard. When they returned, the pit bull had the child by his neck and "would not let go," according to police. "Don't trust pit bulls. They can change at any moment," the female cousin said after the attack. The dog, a male pit bull named "Thor," was 12 years old, according to family members. [source citations]

Date of death: February 10, 2020 Chained: No
Breed of dog: Pit bull Relationship to dog: Family
Sex of dog: Male Owner of dog: Relative
Spay/Neuter: Unknown Multiple dogs: No
On/Off property: On Criminal charges: No
2020 dog bite fatality, fatal pit bull attack, Devin White

Devin White

25-years old | Plainfield, Illinoisicon

Devin White, 25-years old, was killed by his own pit bull that also attacked three family members. On February 8, police responded to a residence in the 22900 block of Judith Drive for a report of a dog bite. Upon arrival, officers found a male pit bull inside the home acting in an "aggressive manner." Police shot and killed the dog after they were unable to gain full control of it while trying to reach the victims. Police located four victims in the second story of the home. White suffered "severe injuries" to his arms. He was transported to St. Joseph Hospital in Joliet then transferred to Loyola University Medical Center. Three other adult victims were taken to local hospitals, where they were treated and released. "The initial investigation indicates the dog, which was owned by the victims, was unprovoked and attacked for an unknown reason," states a news release by the Plainfield Police Department. White died two days later while hospitalized as a result of the injuries sustained due to the dog attack, police said. [source citations]

Date of death: February 10, 2020 Chained: No
Breed of dog: Pit bull Relationship to dog: Family
Sex of dog: Male Owner of dog: Victim
Spay/Neuter: Unknown Multiple dogs: No
On/Off property: On Criminal charges: No

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As of March 15, two dog bite fatalities remain under investigation. The death of 13-year old Corey Godsey on February 18 in Emmalena, Kentucky; a pit bull is suspected in his death. The death of 60-year old Beverly Dove on March 6 in Chipley, Florida; no breed data is known.

2020 dog bite fatality, fatal pit bull attack, Lee Becham

Lee Becham

76-years old | Crawford County, Georgiaicon

Lee Becham, 76-years old, was killed by up to three dogs belonging to his neighbor. On February 23, Becham was found dead in his yard in the 1900 block of Marshall Mill Road. There were "signs of bite marks" to his body, Crawford County Sheriff Lewis Walker said. Coroner Sheldon Mattox confirmed that Becham had severe dog bite marks on both of his extremities. Three dogs belonging to a neighbor were suspected, a pair of pit bulls and Labrador retriever-mix, but were not seized by authorities at that time. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation conducted the autopsy. On March 5, Walker released the cause of death, "traumatic injuries due to dog attack." Walker added, "Three dogs that are suspected in this case have been removed from their owners." On March 10, Samuel Arthur Brown, 55, and Angel Ann Brown, 52, of Crawford County were charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection to his death. Becham served in the U.S. Army and was a Vietnam War veteran, according to his obituary. [source citations]

Date of death: February 23, 2020 Chained: No
Breed of dog: Pit bull (2)
Labrador retriever-mix (1)
Relationship to dog: Non-family
Sex of dog: Unknown Owner of dog: Neighbor
Spay/Neuter: Unknown Multiple dogs: Yes
On/Off property: Off Criminal charges: Yes
2020 dog bite fatality, fatal pit bull attack, Geraldine Hamlin

Geraldine Hamlin

64-years old | Shreveport, Louisianaicon

Geraldine Hamlin, 64-years old, died after being mauled by two family pit bulls. The attack occurred on February 27 just after 10:00 pm at her home in the 2900 block of Seventh Street in north Shreveport. Police said the dogs inflicted multiple bite injuries on her arms. "The patient's arms are bleeding really badly," states dispatch logs from Shreveport Fire, who responded to the scene. Hamlin was transported to Ochsner LSU Health hospital, where she died of her injuries early the next morning. The victim shared her home with her son and the two dogs, Shreveport Police Corporal Angie Willhite said. "Her son had been gone and when he arrived back at the house he found his mother with multiple dog bite injuries to her arms," Willhite said. The two dogs were very familiar with the victim, she said. "I believe they had owned [the dogs] for four years is what I've been told," Willhite said. "The pets were no strangers to the family," she said. Both family pit bulls were taken into custody by animal control. [source citations]

Date of death: February 28, 2020 Chained: No
Breed of dog: Pit bull (2) Relationship to dog: Family
Sex of dog: Unknown Owner of dog: Son
Spay/Neuter: Unknown Multiple dogs: Yes
On/Off property: On Criminal charges: No
2020 dog bite fatality, fatal pit bull attack, Demi Witherspoon

Demi Witherspoon

2-years old | Portsmouth, Virginiaicon

Demi Witherspoon, 2-years old, was mauled to death by a family pit bull. Police and paramedics were dispatched to a home in the 5600 block of Darby Close at 1:53 pm for a dog bite, according to Misty Holley with the Portsmouth Police Department. When officers and paramedics arrived, they found the 2-year old with life-threatening injuries. The child was transported to a local hospital, where she died. In the audio dispatch log from Portsmouth Police and Fire, the dispatcher said the child suffered severe injuries to her face. "We have a pit bull who just bit the complainant's daughter's face completely off. She's not breathing." After Engine 3 arrived at the scene, the fireman reported, "We have a pit bull that's covered in blood here." The owner of the dog surrendered the 1-year old male pit bull to Portsmouth Animal Control, which placed the dog into a 10-day quarantine. One neighbor told reporters the family had just moved in a day or two earlier. As of March 15, the case remains under investigation. [source citations]

Date of death: March 9, 2020 Chained: No
Breed of dog: Pit bull Relationship to dog: Family
Sex of dog: Male Owner of dog: Pending
Spay/Neuter: Unknown Multiple dogs: No
On/Off property: On Criminal charges: Pending

Additional victims - excluded

Deaths involving minor dog bite injury, dog-related caused injury (killed by a car while fleeing a dog) and cases that lacked a "reasonably clear" determination of death after dog bite injury are not included in our fatality statistical data. Deaths involving fatal non-bite injury (struck by dog death) or death due to untreated severe dog bites (sepsis) may be added to our data at a future time.

Citations
  1. DogsBite.org contains verifiable information about U.S. citizens killed by dogs including the name and age of each victim, location of attack, dog breed and up to 25 other factors. Our Fatality Citations section documents sources used in our dog bite fatality research. Learn more about our data collection method, which includes collecting breed identification photographs, police and coroner reports in certain cases, legal filings, court filings, legislative materials and more.