Investigators consult experts in animal attack case

Ja'Marr Tiller was 2-years-old when he was killed in an animal attack. (Photo provided by Octavia Johnson)

By Natalie

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV){}-- Following a deadly animal attack of a child, investigators with Charleston County are bringing in experts to identify the killer.

During a press conference held Monday, Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon said the two dogs in Animal Control custody, found near the home of the attack site, may not be the animals who killed the young boy.{}

"We are not sure which if either of these dogs was involved. This area as I understand it, there are not fences separating residences. There are other dogs that could have conceivably been involved," he said.

Investigators say they responded to{}a home on Highway 17 North near Highway 41 around 8:30 p.m. Sunday.

Octavia Johnson said she called 911 after her sister discovered her child, 2-year-old Ja'Marr Tiller, unresponsive on the ground outside the home with his clothes ripped off.

"We went running out of the house and saw his lifeless body lying on the ground," she said.

Johnson says her sister had put Tiller to bed and investigators say she was gone about an hour. Johnson and other family members remained at the home.

"We're just assuming he got up and wandered out the back door," she said.

The two dogs found in the yard, both mixed breeds, according to the sheriff, were taken into custody. The sheriff and Coroner Rae Wooten say they hope the help of expert consultants will match or eliminate the bite marks with the dogs.

Johnson says they never caused any problems with the children and had never been violent.

"They didn't pose any immediate threat because they had been here for four years," she said.

The animals didn't live inside the home, according to the sheriff. Coroner Wooten says they are also waiting on lab results from the autopsy that could shed some light on the case.

"There are many unanswered questions about how this came to occur," Wooten said.

The child died due to his injuries sustained by blunt force and sharp trauma, according to the coroner. Early investigation can not indicate how long the child was attacked but Coroner Wooten says there are tests that could determine that. She could not determine how many times the child was bitten.


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