Linda Leal Castillo
COLUSA, CA - Police are investigating the death of a 51-year-old woman who may have been mauled by her own pit bull.
Investigators said Linda Leal Castillo was found dead by her husband in the backyard of their home in the 100 block of Bridge Street just before 7:30 Tuesday morning. Enrique Leal ran to the next door neighbor's house and asked them to call 911.
"It's a very numbing situation. I think we're all still trying to grasp at the idea of how horrific it all happened," said Quinte Leal, the victim's daughter-in-law.
Colusa police said arriving firefighters found extensive head and neck trauma "consistent with a dog attack."
Neighbors said Leal was very close to her white, pit bull mix, named Toby. Another dog the couple kept was confined to a pen in the backyard.
"We never had any problems with them, especially with the kids around, never, ever," said Lupe Diaz, whose parents live next door.
Colusa police have asked for help from forensics experts with the State Department of Justice. They are hoping an autopsy, to be performed on Wednesday, will help explain exactly what happened.
Leal was battling liver cancer and had been weakened by the disease.
Neighbors said they did not hear any sign of a struggle and that they could not imagine Leal being hurt by her own dog.
"She fell outside or something and the dog, since they were really, really close, the dog probably tried to drag her back in or let the guy know that she was outside in danger," speculated Diaz.
The dog was taken by Colusa County Animal Control and later euthanized with Mr. Leal's consent.
By Dave Marquis, firstname.lastname@example.org