Constable: "Preliminary Info Victim Deceased of Many Dog Bites"
An elderly woman found dead in a bayou in northwest Harris County apparently had bite marks.
Cause of Death Released
UPDATE 11/20/23: The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences website lists the primary cause of death of Sau Nguyen as "multiple sharp force and blunt injuries." The manner of death was an accident. Both are indicative of a fatal dog mauling. The autopsy report is not yet complete. The place of death is listed as "ditch Houston, TX." Records at the Forensic Sciences website are updated every 30 minutes. Harris County Veterinary Public Health still has not released any dog breed data.
11/16/23: Woman Found Dead
Harris County, TX - On Wednesday, the body of a 79-year old woman was discovered dead by her son in a bayou near their northwest Houston home. Investigators said she appeared to have multiple bite marks. Her body was found near the 6100 block of Downwood Forest Drive near Bold Forest. Her family said she typically takes a daily walk, but did not return from her walk Wednesday afternoon. That's when her two sons began searching for her. She was discovered face down in the water.
According to neighbors, there was one home on the block where dogs frequently escaped from. One of the neighbors even told the victim to look out for the dogs on her walk Wednesday. Another unidentified neighbor said, "They attacked the neighbors. They even killed some of the dogs, pets, you know, the little, small chihuahuas and everything. We lost a life because of wild dogs." The video footage shows a German shepherd-mix and another shepherd-type being detained by authorities.
Her two sons identified their mother as Sau Nguyen. In the 1970s, she came to Houston from Vietnam with her husband to raise her children. According to a recent update by the Harris County Sheriff's Office, the investigation is ongoing and there is no indication that dogs were involved (Why then did officials seize seven dogs?). An autopsy will confirm her cause of death. Her death appears to have similarities to Robert Simonian, who died of drowning, but also sustained multiple dog bites.
"The last time this happened, about a month ago, they attacked someone in the same exact spot this lady was found, back here on the bayou," neighbor Reed Folwell told KRIV. The owner was ticketed at that time. "We asked the police when they came, 'What is it going to take to get this taken care of?' Does somebody have to die?" Three weeks prior to the dogs attacking Simonian, the dogs had been returned to their owner after being suspected of killing a man at the exact same canal location.
A subsequent KRIV video shows at least six of the seven dogs. The video also shows neighbors tense and agitated while constables were still at the scene. Neighbors had complained to authorities about these dogs for over a year prior to the woman's death. Folwell provided Ring camera video too, where he tries to escape the dog pack by fleeing into his home, saying "Holy Shit!" Neighbors cheered, hollered and clapped their hands after the dogs were loaded into the animal control vehicle.
In a tweet on Wednesday night, the preliminary cause of death was also announced. Pct. 1 Constable Alan Rosen tweeted out, "One of our most vulnerable communities- our senior citizens! 80 yr. old mom found deceased by her own family after not coming home from a walk. Preliminary info victim deceased of many dog bites." A spokesperson from Harris County Veterinary Public Health also provided a written statement about the case, finally nailing down the time her body was discovered.
"On November 15th, at approximately 11 p.m., animal control officers were dispatched to Downwood Forest Drive in northwestern Harris County, Texas," said a spokesperson from Harris County Veterinary Public Health. "The call was made by Constable Precinct 1 after a woman was found dead. The officers retrieved seven dogs, which were surrendered by their owner. The dogs are currently under the custody of the Harris County Pets Resource Center. The case is under investigation."
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Law enforcement departments across the United States should release consistent "baseline" information to the media and the public after each fatal dog mauling, including these items.