Authorities: Woman killed in dog attack was trying to save mother


Published: Sunday, August 23, 2015 at 7:17 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, August 23, 2015 at 7:17 p.m.

A Spartanburg woman who was killed by a pit bull had been attempting to rescue her mother from the attacking dog, authorities say.

Porsche Nicole Cartee was pronounced dead inside her home when emergency responders arrived Saturday.

Spike, which has since been euthanized, had been the Cartee family's pet for more than a decade.

Authorities say the pit bull "just snapped" when it began attacking the mother. Cartee's sister was also injured. Her mother was hospitalized and her injuries may require surgery, while Cartee's sister received treatment on scene, said Jamie Nelson, the director of Spartanburg County's Office of Environmental Enforcement.

Those close to the 25-year-old described her as selfless.

Patrick Powell, Cartee's boyfriend of nearly 10 years, said the two had just separated about a month ago but were planning on getting back together.

The family's pit bull had caused problems before, Powell said by phone Sunday.

A previous attack left the mother hospitalized, but the incident was never reported to authorities, Powell said.

No other case involving Spike had been reported, Nelson confirmed. The environmental enforcement office is continuing to look at records from previous addresses to ensure there were no prior cases, he added.

An autopsy is being performed on the dog to determine if it had rabies, he said.

"The biggest thing apart from it being a fatality is that it was three victims at one time, and it was a family pet," Nelson said. "It's just a huge tragedy here for this family."

Coroner Rusty Clevenger said Sunday night that an autopsy on Cartee showed she died directly from the dog bites to her head and body.

"It appears the dog just snapped," Nelson said.

The Spartanburg County Coroner's Office and the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office assisted animal control on scene at the Beverly Hills Drive home around 5:40 p.m. Saturday.

Beverly Powell, Patrick Powell's mother, said she advised the family to get rid of the dog after the previous attack. She also said she was once attacked by another pit bull in her own yard but managed to get away with no permanent damage so Cartee's killing hits close to home for her.

"The sadness is that I told Nicole's mother, ‘What is it going to take for you to get rid of this dog?' And now it's killed her daughter," Beverly Powell said.

Patrick Powell, 24, said Cartee will be remembered for her selflessness. She always looked out for her family, he said.

"She was the only woman I ever truly loved," he said. "I can honestly say I wanted to marry that girl one day."

He said he is struggling to cope with the loss.

He was traveling Sunday night from Florida, where he was visiting relatives, back to Spartanburg to help with planning memorial services.

"I'm trying," he said. "I'm so hurt and angry."

Follow Daniel J. Gross on Twitter @danieljgross

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