A woman found dead in Texas is believed to have been killed by a herd of wild hogs.
Christine Rollins, 59, was found in the front yard of an elderly couple's home in Anahuac. When Rollins, who was a caretaker for the couple, didn't show up at the usual time, the 84-year-old homeowner went outside and found her body lying in the yard between her vehicle and the front door.
Upon investigation, the Chambers County Sheriff's Office found that she had injuries consistent with a fall as well as "numerous injuries that appear to be animal-related", the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement on Facebook.
"We found a lot of things related to the death that did not add up, some of it were some animal bites," Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne told reporters on Monday.
"[The medical examiner] has ruled the cause of death as exsanguination (severe loss of blood) due to feral hog assault. There is no question in the medical examiner's mind that this was feral hogs that caused her death."
The Sheriff's Office determined that Rollins likely arrived at her normal time – around 6am – when it was probably still dark. "That's when hogs routinely move, in the dark hours," said Hawthorne. She appears to have been making her way from her car to the front door when the animals intercepted her.
"This is a very rare incident. Less than six of these have been reported in the nation over the many many years of reporting these kinds of deaths," Hawthorne said. "In my 35 years I will tell you it's one of the worst things I've ever seen."
They were able to work out from the different sizes of the bites that several animals were involved in the attack early on Sunday morning.
Wild boar attacks are rare. There were just under 100 attacks between 1825 and 2012 in the US, according to a 2013 study documenting wild pig attacks on humans from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, of which four were fatal. Most attacks (82 percent globally) were by solitary animals, however, groups of two to 20 feral hogs were reported attacking humans. In these attacks, most of the boar escaped uninjured.
However – though incidents are rare – the wild boar problem appears to be on the rise, with around 70 percent of attacks around the world taking place between 2000 and 2012.
"I don't know the traits of feral hogs – I will tell you that feral hogs are a problem across the State of Texas," the Sheriff continued. "They are definitely a problem in this county. We actually have hog traps that the Sheriff's Office owns that we use to assist farmers and ranchers with the feral hog problem."
The Sheriff offered condolences to the family of Rollins as well as the elderly couple who she cared for.