THURSTON COUNTY, Wash. - Jeremy Stockert says his family cat, Olly, was friendly enough to approach anyone on the street. So last Friday when Olly suddenly disappeared from her home in Olympia's West Side, her family's worries were confirmed with a phone call from investigators.
"It was devastating," said Stockert, who was told by investigators that Ollie was the sixth of seven feline victims of a serial cat killer in Thurston County--whose gruesome crimes are hard to even imagine.
"The investigators said it seems your cat was mutilated, they took the spine, choked it, and smashed its head,” Stockert said.
Investigators say like in the previous cases, Ollie's killer removed her from her home, killed her in a different place, surgically removed the spine and put the remains on display in a front yard half a mile away.
"The amount of harm that this is doing to families," Stockert said. "A lot of those animals are family members and it's sick!"
Erika Johnson, the lead investigator for Thurston County Joint Animal Services, describes what they've found as seven signature cat killings of the same person since October of last year.
"This has been the worst case of serial animal mutilation in my career, and I've been doing this a long time," she said.
Three cats were found in the area around West Olympia's Decatur Park, three others were found in Lacey and one cat--which was cut in half--was found in Tumwater.
"These animals were definitely displayed in a manner to cause shock and awe," Johnson said, adding that DNA found on the cats’ claws is being analyzed as a clue to the killer’s identity.
Within blocks of where three cats were taken, KIRO 7 found a lot of friendly, approachable outdoor cats which investigators say is the killer's prey.
"It's very urgent to me because I think it's going to escalate," Stockert said.
Investigators say mutilating animals is often a first step to homicidal tendencies. "We want to get this person off the streets because we don't know what they're going to target next," said Johnson.
Pasado's Safe Haven is offering a $15,000 reward for information leading to the suspect.
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