Mum’s horror as she found daughter, 13, mauled to death by pack of 20 dogs
The mum of a schoolgirl savaged by a pack of 20 dogs has described her horror at finding her 13-year-old daughter dead.
Marissa Jones, 42, said Lyssa Rose Upshaw was "in the foetal position with her skin torn through to the bone".
She told the US Sun that Lyssa had gone for a walk before dinner near her family's home in Navajo Nation land in Arizona in May.
Mum-of-three Marissa said: "At first I thought she had fallen off the hill.
"But then I saw she was in the foetal position. Her skin had been torn through to the bone. Her hair was ripped out.
"I began screaming at the top of my lungs. I grabbed her hand. I started praying.
"I could not believe she was gone. I could not stop thinking about how she would have been scared and she was alone."
Lyssa, who loved to draw, fish and bike ride, suffered extensive injuries consistent with dog teeth marks.
Her clothes were torn and she was covered in dirt, according to the autopsy.
But her death was recorded as accidental and Marissa wants the dog owners to be held criminally responsible.
She said: "The owners of these dogs have treated myself and my daughter as if we are no one.
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"I am angry. I want to see them charged, I want to see them in jail so they know what it feels like to be taken away from their kids like my child has been taken away from me.
"If you cannot be responsible for your dogs then you should not have them.
"All of those dogs had evidence of my daughter's blood and tissue on them."
Marissa told The Sun: "My niece had actually been cornered by the same dogs about a month before.
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"Other people have told me they had been attacked or almost attacked by them too."
The incident has renewed discussion about how to hold people accountable for their pets on the reservation.
Navajo Police Department's Criminal Investigations Director Michael Henderson has said tribal charges are being considered in Lyssa's death.
"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," he said.
"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."
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The FBI is conducting some of the lab testing.
Esther Winne, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Arizona, couldn’t say whether Lyssa's case has been referred to federal prosecutors.
Marissa said: "She really loved drawing, anime, fishing and bike riding.
"We are trying hard to live the best we can.
"It's hard for me to bear that she is not here. She was my baby girl, the one we did everything for."
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