- Investigation of an Animal Mutilation in Cache County,
- NIDS was contacted on October 31, 2001 by a rancher to
report the possible mutilation of a nine-month old Red Angus cross steer.
The animal had been found dead the previous evening at feeding time. NIDS
alerted our Utah investigator who in turn alerted the Cache County deputy
sheriff who investigated the mutilation and provided NIDS with his report.
At the same time, NIDS also contracted a local veterinarian to conduct
a necropsy on the animal. The necropsy was successful and samples of vitreous
fluid from the animal's eye, liver and a vial of blood were collected
by the veterinarian at NIDS's request. The samples were shipped overnight
- The animal's scrotum had been removed in what the veterinarian
termed a circular pattern. The bowel was visible protruding from the opening.
Surprisingly, the entire penis and urethra had been skillfully removed
through the small opening (shown in the full report). The incisions also
cut through abdominal muscle layers.
- NIDS spoke with the veterinarian following the necropsy
and after the x-ray analysis of the animal's head was complete. The veterinarian
confirmed his remarks made earlier to the deputy sheriff concerning his
mystification about the surgery. It is noteworthy that the veterinarian
was impressed with the surgical skill in removing the penis and the urethra
in a series of bloodless incisions. X-ray analysis showed an otherwise
normal brain with no sign of a bullet or anything metallic. Therefore it
was concluded that the animal had not been shot.
- Multiple chemical analyses [IR, extraction, gas chromatography
mass spectrometry-(GCMS) etc] were conducted on the blood, liver and vitreous
fluid from the animal's eye. NIDS has begun to develop a subtraction procedure
in which GCMS analysis of eye-fluid from a mutilated animal is compared,
molecule by molecule, with the GCMS analysis from eye-fluid obtained from
an animal that has been left to decompose for a few days and serves as
an 'unmutilated' control.
- Table III in the full report on the NIDS web site comprises
a direct subtractive comparison of the GCMS analysis of the eye-fluid
from the mutilated animal in Cache County in the left hand column versus
GCMS analysis of the eye-fluid from the control animal in the right hand
column. The molecules in the eye-fluid are presented in ascending order
according to GCMS retention time.
- As can be seen from Table III in the full report, the
GCMS analysis yielded an enormously complex chromatogram, comprising over
sixty separate molecules. A careful comparison between the left and right
hand areas of Table III shows what appears to be multiple phenolic compounds
in the eye-fluid from the mutilated animal that were not in the eye-fluid
from the control animal.
- The 'mutilation specific' molecular entities include,
but are not limited to: 3-Methoxy-2-methylphenol, 5-Methoxy-2,3-dimethylphenol,
4-(2-phenylethyl)-phenol, 2-Methoxy-4-methylphenol, 3,5-dimethoxyphenol.
- Whether this family of phenolic compounds, none of which
were found in the control animal are breakdown products from narcotic
substances (see for example Table IV in the full report), or simply metabolic
decomposition products from the animal has not been determined. However,
the range of multiple phenolic compounds is suggestive. It is therefore
speculated that the excess phenolics could originate from decomposition
products of drugs and/or controlled substances. Many of these substances
have similar phenolic functionalities as part of their structures. The
phenolic structures suggested by the MS analysis are singled out and shown
along with a few drugs and controlled substances having structural similarities
in Table IV of the report.
- NIDS cannot, however, be definitive that these compounds
are not decomposition breakdown products, even though they were not present
in the control animal. Such a conclusion can only be derived from multiple
additional analyses as well as a much more sophisticated research database
of the complexity of ruminant decomposition (ruminant decomposition being
much more complex than human decomposition).
- The full narrative that includes the deputy sheriff
investigative report, the veterinarian's necropsy report, photographs,
tables, figures and raw data can be found in the What s New section of
the NIDS web site (http://www.nidsci.org).