A 7-year-old boy from Oklahoma was mutilated to death in his backyard by a dog his family rescued three weeks earlier, the child’s parents said.
James McNeelis and his new rescue dog were playing outside his home in Kiefer on the evening of October 20 when his parents attempted to call him for dinner. They contacted the police when he did not respond.
The Creek County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement officers received a call around 7:20 p.m., adding that a child’s body was found shortly after arriving home.
“Shortly after the deputies arrived at the scene, a family member located the child on the property,” the statement said. “The child was declared dead around 7:35 pm”
According to KJRH, the child’s body was found by his father.
The statement from the sheriff’s office says the rescue dog is currently being held at an animal control facility. A preliminary investigation by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife indicated that the child was attacked by the family dog.
No foul play is suspected in the incident, Creek County Sheriff Bret Bowling told KOCO.
The family of the 7-year-old told KJRH that the dog was a mix of Corgi and Shetland Sheepdog. The police did not indicate the breed of the dog.
The family told the media outlet that the rescue dog had shown no signs of aggression since they had brought him home as a stray three weeks earlier.
A GoFundMe The page created by the boy’s mother to help with memorial and cremation expenses indicates that James was found “mutilated in their [family’s] back yard. The family raised some $ 5,500 over the two days after the page was created.
In a Facebook post, the boy’s father, Michael McNeelis, recalled his son as “so full of life and light.”
“He was going to change the world. And he still is. His light will change the world,” he wrote. “My little boy James was killed. The night of the 20th … we feel lonely and lost without him and we’re doing everything we can but it’s just hard. Everything hurts without my little boy here.”
“We decided we couldn’t stay here,” he added in a separate article. “After the funeral and the memorial, we have to leave this place. For James and for us. Please. Donate, share, whatever. Even if everyone shares, more people can see the happy face of my little boy. “
“It’s incredibly painful,” he said. News week. “We sat outside earlier and the whole world looks a little grayer.”
The Creek County Sheriff’s Office is working with the Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s Office on the case.
News week has contacted the Creek County Sheriff’s Office for further comment.
Update 10/27/21, 4:12 a.m. ET: This article has been updated with comments by Michael McNeelis and a photograph by James McNeelis.