Investigation: Animal Mutilation

Note: Judd McIlvain covered two animal mutilation sites in Texas as a TV reporter for KHOU TV in Houston, Texas. The film for these reports was on file at the TV station.

It was a hot South Texas day with the temperature pushing well past the 90’s in 1972 or 1973. I was assigned to cover several cases of cattle mutilation in Fort Bend County Southwest of Houston, Texas. I had read wire copy about other cattle mutilations in states from the Canadian Border to the Houston area.

This is my eyewitness account of the events that I found at two different sites.

A Sheriff’s Deputy directed my photographer and me into a dry pasture area. The sites were far from a main road. In fact there was no road to the mutilation sites, we had to walk through high weeds for about a block or two to the first animal’s caucus.

The first animal was a large brown calf that was on its side in the middle of a circular dirt area with a diameter of about nine to 10 feet. The dirt circular area with the mutilated animal was hidden from view by high dried weeds and grass about three-feet tall. The deputies pointed out that with the exception of their tracks there were no tracks of people or vehicles leading from the road to the site. The chief investigator said it appeared whom ever did this came in by air and just dropped in on the animal. There was no indication in the high grass and weeds that the helicopter or plane had landed.

The rancher who was at the scene said he did not know the calf was dead until he saw vultures circling the area. He said it was the vultures that prompted him to begin his search for an injured animal.

The veterinarian who was called to the scene said all of the calf’s female organs had been removed. He said it appeared that who ever did it used professional surgical instruments. There was no blood any where at the scene. The doctor speculated that some type of suction device was used to remove the blood from the animal before the organs were cut out because there was no blood in the dirt.

The veterinarian said the only organs and parts of the calf removed were those that were part of the reproduction system. He said cult groups sometimes take ears, eyes, blood and tails of animals. But the rest of the animal’s body was not disturbed with the exception that it was bloodless. And remember there was no blood found.

We documented all this on film. In 1986 the film of the reports were apparently on file at the CBS Station KHOU TV in Houston. In 1986 a film company contacted me about getting the film and my story for a movie they were making. I do not know if they got the film from the station. The station records should be able to pinpoint the exact date.

That same very hot day the rancher notified the Sheriff’s office that he had found one of his horses mutilated the same way. The horse’s caucus was about a half mile away from the calf site. The horse was a large white stallion and it was on its side under a large tree. There was a large dirt circle with a diameter of about 10 to 12 feet to the left of the horses caucus. It appeared that someone or thing had swung the horse by its tail in a circle making the dirt circle imprint on the ground.

The veterinarian said the horse had also been drained of blood and his male organs removed with surgical care. There was no blood anywhere at the scene.

Also his tail was taken. Both animals appeared to be dead for only a few days. At the horse site there was no tracks of vehicles or footprints. Deputies said it appeared to them that someone had just dropped out of the sky with sophisticated surgical equipment and performed these operations on the cattle.

I interviewed other ranchers and close neighbors. None said they had see or heard any vehicles or helicopters in the area for the past week or so.

There were no more cattle mutilations in South Texas in the next six months, but there were AP wire reports of some cattle mutilations in Louisiana that borders Southeast Texas.

What did the investigators at the scene think? Some told me that it appeared clear that whoever did this came into the area by air. They used sophisticated medical equipment and were apparently doing some type of research on domesticated animals in the North American Continent. Lets look at what I saw for myself.

Something made those dirt circles but there were no tracks in the dirt. At the dead horse scene the large dirt circle was to the side of the large tree not around the tree. This suggests that what ever made the circle came down from above and had to clear the tree. At the horse scene there were marks in the dirt where the large horse had apparently used its hoofs to dig into the dirt while it was on the ground. Since there were no other marks on the ground and no blood the investigators wondered if the removal of the blood and the organs took place in a craft of some type that never really landed but just hovered over the area. This could account for the dirt circle areas, or not.

I personally searched the dirt area around the horse. I only found the marks where the horse dug his hoofs into the dirt.

It appeared the horse was on its side the way we found it when it made the hoof marks as if it was trying to get up.

Except for the removal of the horses organs and tail there was no other apparent trauma to the animal. According to the rancher the horse was strong and healthy and had not been dead for more than three to four days. The rancher wondered how they caught the horse, he said it would normally take a good cowboy to rope it. There were no rope marks on the horse and no ropes at the scene. The owner said this was not a horse that would just walk up to you and stand still.