A man from Texas who had been missing for months was eaten, bones and everything, by his pack of dogs, said sheriff's deputies.
Forensic scientists said Tuesday that DNA tests revealed that the bone fragments recovered from the dog's excrement were those of Freddie Mack, 57, according to the Johnson County Sheriff's Office.
MP Aaron Pitts said the 18 mixed-breed dogs had apparently devoured Mack's whole body, clothes and hair, leaving nothing bigger than bone fragments of 2 to 5 inches.
"Never, nor anyone we talked to, had ever heard of a whole human being consumed," Pitts told The Associated Press. "The bones were completely broken and eaten."
Mack had serious health problems and it is unclear whether the dogs killed their owner or consumed his body after his death. "Whatever it is, it's a horrible event and we express our condolences to Freddie Mack's family," said Sheriff Adam King in a statement.
In May, a family member reported that Mack, a secluded man, had disappeared from his home near Venus, a community of less than 4,000 people about 50 km southwest of Dallas.
Aggressive dogs prevented the family from entering Mack's property and posed problems for MPs, who were finally able to look around while keeping them away with a "distraction method", according to the sheriff's office.
The deputy ministers could not locate Mack and, after several days of research, the investigators returned to comb the property. In the middle of tall grass, they found animal droppings containing pieces of hair, clothes and bone. Larger fragments were sent to the University of North Texas Human Remains Identification Center and then matched to Mack using family DNA tests.
Pitts said two of the dogs had been killed by their companions, 13 had been slaughtered because of their "aggressive nature" and three had been put up for adoption.
The member said Mack kept his dogs well fed and nurtured. The only other time MPs took care of him, it was in 2017, when Mack called from the hospital to ask if anyone could check his dogs, Pitts said. .
"This man loved his animals," he said.