The brutal slaughter of four University of Idaho students just took on an even more sinister air, if that’s possible, with the news that, just weeks before the murders and just three miles away, an elderly couple’s beloved pet dog, Buddy, was skinned and filleted, sparking fears that the same sick monster is responsible for both ghastly attacks.
Pam Colbert, 78, and her husband, Jim, 73, let Buddy, a rescued Mini Australian Shepherd, out of their Moscow, Idaho, home on October 21.
“We let Buddy out and somebody must have been waiting out there. Bud never leaves the yard but this person grabbed Buddy,” Pam told the Daily Mail.
The couple has, for 39 years, lived in their quiet home, which is set on 10 acres of rural land.
“We always leave our doors open and he didn’t come back in,” Pam said. “Later that night, Jim went out calling him and couldn’t find him. Friends came up and started looking for him and eventually found him.”
The heartbreaking discovery was bone-chilling.
“It was like a deer that someone had hunted,” Pam said. “They cut him around the neck and just skinned him. His little legs had fur and his little face had fur, but the rest of him was just skinned.”
“The other side of him was as though they had filleted him like they were about to eat him,” she recalled. “It was terrible. Unbelievable. They cut him like you filet a fish. We found his collar, but we didn’t find the pelt.”
The couple called the Sheriff’s Department, and a Latah County Sheriff’s Deputy later confirmed that Buddy’s killer was, indeed, a human.
Just weeks later, on November 13, the bodies of students Ethan Chapin, 20; Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Madison Mogen, 21, were found at a scene so grisly, blood was actually seeping from the home in which they were slain.
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While the Colberts can’t help but wonder if the two incidents are connected, police are reportedly investigating them separately.
To make matters worse, shortly before Buddy’s death, Jim discovered a rabbit near his home that had been mutilated, its scalp and ears sheared off.
“It had the head sliced right open and you could see the brain,” Jim said.
That, too, seemed to be the work of a human, according to police. A Deputy told the Colberts that they are taking Buddy’s death “very seriously,” adding that “this kind of stuff just doesn’t happen.”
Though the police are not officially connecting the two incidents, the small community is, understandably, on edge.
The Colberts’ neighbor, Clint Hughes, took to Facebook, posting that the Colberts’ “sweet little dog was skinned like a deer.”
“No animal did this,” Hughes said. “Our dog is bigger and was so anxious about the same time that he tore his bed up into a thousand pieces. Also, our cat has been missing for the last couple of days.”
In January 2016, the FBI announced its National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) began tracking cases of animal cruelty, noting that animal abuse is often a precursor to more sadistic crimes, according to the FBI’s website.
“If somebody is harming an animal, there is a good chance they also are hurting a human,” said John Thompson, deputy executive director of the National Sheriffs’ Association. “If we see patterns of animal abuse, the odds are that something else is going on.”
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