Bethany Lynn Stephens was found dead in a wooded area where she frequently took her pet dogs for walks, Goochland County Sheriff James Agnew said during a press conference.
According to Sheriff Agnew, Stephens' father called law enforcement on Thursday, saying he believed he had found his daughter, who had been missing for 'over a day'. It was also revealed Stephens' father believed the dogs were 'guarding' her body.
It was reported that authorities spent 'about an hour, hour and a half' trying to catch the dogs, which Agnew describes as 'two very large, brindle coloured pit bull dogs who were very reluctant to be caught.'
Bethany's body was taken to the Medical Examiner's Office.
'It appeared the attack was a violent attack initiated by the victims' dogs while the victim was out for a walk with the dogs,' Sheriff Agnew said the Medical Examiner's initial report indicated. 'The victim had defensive wounds on her hands and arms trying to keep the dogs away from her, which would be consistent with being attacked while she was still alive.'
'It appears she was taken to the ground, lost consciousness, and the dogs then mauled her to death,' he added.
This article originally appeared on New Idea.