GOOCHLAND, Va. (CNN) — Bethany Stephens’ father went looking for her Thursday night. When he found his daughter, investigators said the 22-year-old’s two pit bulls Tonka and Pac-Man were standing guard over her body.

Police say Stephens was found dead in the woods after being mauled to death by the dogs.

“It was an absolutely grisly mauling,” Goochland County Sheriff Jim Agnew said. “In my 40 years of law enforcement, I’ve never seen anything like it. I hope I never see anything like it again.”

Agnew said Stephens was a petite 5-foot-1, no match for her burly 100-125 pound dogs. According to the medical examiner, Stephens was still alive when the animals attacked.

“The victim had defensive marks on her hands and arms, trying to keep the dogs away from her, which would be consistent with being attacked while she was still alive,” Agnew said.

However, Barbara Norris, a friend of Stephens, doesn’t believe the two dogs would do anything to hurt her. She said Stephens babied the dogs that she had raised since they were puppies.

“Those dogs and her, they loved each other,” Norris said. “I wasn’t able to see the body so I can’t tell you what happened. I can’t tell you if it was blunt force or it is was a mauling, but I know those dogs didn’t do it.”

(The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2017 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.)

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  1. Could have been a pack of wolves which was no match to the two dogs but they tried to defend her they need to check for DNA on all dogs were loyal to protect her even after death. Or why wait a whole day to look for his daughter could it be he gave the command to attack her and blamed it on the dogs. He found her. Just saying not accusing.

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