Officials continue to investigate fatal dog attack in Johnston City
BY TARA FASOL-CHAMBERS, The Southern
Monday, June 29, 2009 5:12 PM CDT
JOHNSTON CITY -- As Williamson County officials continue to investigate the dog attack that claimed the life of a 3-year-old Johnston City boy Saturday, detailed information concerning his injuries paints a gruesome picture while the fate of the family pets remains undecided.
Gabrial Reese Mandrell was attacked about 200 feet from his residence, located at 13093 Willow Pond Road in Johnston City Saturday evening. Officials said he pushed open the screen of his bedroom window and crawled outside.
The family had three outside dogs, two pit bull mixes and a collie mix, that were loose in the yard.
Family members found Mandrell badly injured about 8 p.m. He was taken by ambulance to Heartland Regional Medical Center in Marion where he was pronounced dead about 8:50 p.m.
Results of an autopsy report Sunday stated the cause of death was accidental, noting Mandrell bled to death from the dog bites.
Williamson County Coroner Mike “Junior” Burke said Mandrell was bitten more than once but it was a strike to a major blood vessel that caused the hemorrhage which claimed his life.
“He was bitten in a specific location that caused his death,” Burke said. “I will say that he was bitten numerous times.”
Burke said it is unclear which of the three dogs bit the young boy or if all three played a part in the attack. Calls to animal control’s office were not returned Monday.
All three animals were taken to the Williamson County Animal Control center and are being held pending investigation by local officials.
Illinois Department of Children and Family Services also launched an investigation into the death. Spokesperson Kendall Marlow said it isn’t the first time the state has been in contact with Mandrell’s mother, although prior investigations were not related to animals and involved another child.
Marlowe said there were no other children at the home during the time of the death.