Animal Mutilation In Cache County Utah
From Colm Kelleher
National Institute Discovery Sciences

Investigation of an Animal Mutilation in Cache County, Utah.
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 to NIDS.
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 (


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