Who was Lyssa Rose Upshaw? Arizona girl, 13, mauled to death by pack of 20 dogs

Who was Lyssa Rose Upshaw? Arizona girl, 13, mauled to death by pack of 20 dogs
Image used for representation (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

NAVAJO NATION, ARIZONA: A teenage girl was savaged to death by at least 20 dogs while she was out on a walk near her family home, an autopsy stated. Lyssa Rose Upshaw was just 13 when she died in May this year. The report also noted that her body had marks of dog teeth, her clothes were torn, and there was dirt all over her body.

The victim’s mother Marissa Jones, who found her in a fetal position, said, “I never thought that would ever happen to my daughter. She was a dog lover. I’m hoping and I’m praying for my daughter to get her justice.” Marissa has also reportedly blamed a neighboring family for her daughter’s death. She told The Navajo Times, “This family has a bunch of mean dogs, about 20. Her legs were all chewed up. She was gone.”


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It has been said that the family in question had kept a number of dogs secretly in their home. However, 12 of them were taken into custody. “They hid the dogs that attacked and killed my daughter from animal control. They had to check them for blood, hair, anything that might be caught in their teeth or on their coat,” Lyssa’s grieving mother added. The medical examiner’s office in Coconino County documented Lyssa’s death as "accidental."


Who was Lyssa Rose Upshaw?

Lyssa has been described as a quiet and artistic girl, who loved to sketch. She was about to be promoted from Tséhootsooí Middle School when she died. According to Marissa, her daughter was very excited to go to high school. The mother said, “She wanted to get her nails done, her eyebrows done, dye her hair. She was so looking forward to going to high school next year, and being with her brother, who’s going to be a senior.” However, the tragedy forced the devastated family to hold a funeral service instead of the promotion party. Marissa said that Navajo Nation – an American Indian territory – has animal control laws, but they need to be enforced strictly. “They need to go from house to house and see how many dogs people have. When I was in NHA housing, I just had one pit bull and they made me get rid of it. But when you live off by yourself, people have 7, 10, 12 dogs and nobody says anything,” she said.


Image used for representation (Getty Images/ PaulShlykov)

Meanwhile, Navajo Police Department's Criminal Investigations Director Michael Henderson said, “The case is pretty far from being closed, far from being just put aside as an accident or a civil matter or anything like that. We're still very aggressively pursuing to understand the case to the extent to where if there are any criminal elements attached to what happened.”

In another incident involving dog attack, a man has been charged after his dogs allegedly killed a seven-year-old boy, identified as Shamar Jackson. The Marion County Sheriff's Office said that Lorenzo Cardenas, who is from Marion, South Carolina, has been pressed with involuntary manslaughter and animal cruelty charges or penalty for being the owner of a hazardous animal that has attacked and injured a human. Shamar’s father Carnell Jackson had said, “It hurts, trust me. I did not know that when I went to work that day, I would come home and my son would be gone. I was just like, ‘Lord just let him live, breathe into his lungs', but he had lost a lot of blood.’” He added that the first-grader was searching for their chihuahua, Remi, along with his brothers when the incident happened.


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 Arizona girl 13 years mauled to death by pack of 20 dogs owned by neighbor