Florida father-of-five found dead with more than 100 dog bites after he took a shortcut through a wooded area to get home
A Florida man was mauled to death by a pack of dogs while he was taking shortcut through a wooded area to get to his home this past week.
The body of Melvin Olds Jr., 45, was found in a wooded area behind a residence on Cochran Drive in the Highway Park neighborhood south of Lake Placid shortly before noon on July 4, according to a press release by the Highlands County Sheriff's Office.
Olds had been seen alive only a few hours earlier, with an on-scene investigation indicating that his death had been caused by an animal attack. Dr. Stephen Nelson, the District 10 Medical Examiner, responded to the scene and determined that the 45-year-old had most likely been attacked and killed by a pack of dogs.
It was an assertion that was then backed by an independent investigation carried out by the HCSO and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
An autopsy conducted on Olds' body on July 5, which was attended by HCSO detectives and a biologist with FWC, found more than 100 dog bites on his body. It was also determined that there were no wounds other than those caused by dogs.
However, the final determination will only be made after toxicology reports are completed, which could take several weeks, said the HCSO.
Olds was a father of five and a grandfather, and his fiancée, Jannell Ward, told WFLA that she had previously seen a pack of dogs in the neighborhood but that they had never gone beyond growling at her.
"They growled a couple times but they never ran up to me," she said. "They never came at me or insinuated that they were going to bite me. I never got that feeling"
Following the death, HCSO Animal Services officers have set traps in the area. Animal Services units have also been patrolling the area looking for loose dogs who may have been involved in the attack.
The sheriff's office announced that, so far, six dogs had been captured in the area, and that all of their bite sizes matched the wounds found on Olds' body.
But they said the bite sizes alone would not be sufficient proof and that DNA from the captured dogs will be compared to DNA collected from the wounds to see if a positive connection can be made.
Speaking about Olds' death, HCSO Sheriff Paul Blackman said, "While we may have the dogs that were responsible for this horrible tragedy, we won’t know for sure for a while."
"I want to encourage residents of Highway Park and the surrounding area to be on the lookout for any loose dogs, especially those that seem aggressive. We don’t want anyone else to be injured," he added.
Anyone who sees loose dogs in the area has been advised to not approach and contact the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office at 863-402-7200.