She wasn't discovered in a wooded area of Goochland until the next evening, the dogs found nearby, "guarding her", Goochland County Sheriff James Agnew said.
The sheriff said that according to a preliminary report from the medical examiner, Stephens two pit bulls, each weighing about the same amount as her, 125 pounds, killed their owner.
A woman was mauled to death by her own pitbulls in an "absolutely grisly" attack in the United States.
Agnew described the scene as one of the most grisly he has seen in his 40 years of law enforcement.
Agnew said there was no evidence of another, larger animal being in the area at the time of the attack, and the medical examiner in the county concluded Stephens' wounds were caused by a smaller animal, such as a dog. He told The Washington Post earlier that investigators don't suspect foul play and that evidence recovered from the scene, including defensive wounds on her hands and arms, showed that the dogs were responsible for her death.
A man who used to work with Stephens at a dog training facility told said she was very experienced working with animals, and loved her dogs.
"The dogs were a little bit neglected towards the end", Sergeant Mike Blackwood said, adding that the pit bulls lived with Stephens' dad on his property, outside in the cold". "It appears she was taken to the ground, lost consciousness, and the dogs then mauled her to death", he added.
The dogs are being held at Goochland County Animal Control, and Agnew said authorities were seeking to have the animals euthanized.
Agnew also revealed the captured animals being euthanized, after having received the family's consent on Saturday.
After talking with the family, Agnew said, "Let me cut right to the chase, the most important detail that we did not release because we were anxious about the well-being of the family is that in the course of trying to capture the dogs early Friday morning. we turned and looked ..."
Agnew said the officers made the decision to capture the dogs instead of shooting them. Deputies witnessed the animals eating Stephens' rib cage; her body was dismembered and she was found completely naked except for one boot. "I hope I never see anything like it again".
Agnew said the investigation is ongoing but there were no strangulation marks on her body and the incident was not ruled a homicide.
It took officials more than an hour to catch the dogs-which were her pets. She was in the area visiting with her father. We're still doing some forensic tests.
"What I observed personally, it was in the community's best interest", Agnew said. "Dogs don't typically just out of the blue attack their owners, so there is typically some kind of provocation". A toxicology report is being run on Stephens and is expected to be completed in about three months.
When Should We Leave To Beat The Snow — Holiday Travel Weather
Thursday will feature highs only in the mid-30s but it won't be as windy as an area of high pressure briefly moves overhead. Highs may again climb past 50 degrees, especially Saturday when mid 50s aren't out of the question.