A caretaker found dead Sunday outside a home in Anahuac was killed by feral hogs, a “tragic” and “very rare” case that initially puzzled investigators, Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne said Monday afternoon.
Liberty native Christine Rollins, 59, worked as the caretaker for an elderly couple at their home along State Highway 61 in rural Chambers County. One of her clients, an 84-year-old woman, waited for her to show up Sunday, but Rollins never arrived.
When the elderly woman went outside her front door, she found Rollins dead in the yard between her car and the front door, according to the sheriff’s office. She suffered a severe head injury and several other injuries on her body consistent with animal bites, Hawthorne said.
The Jefferson County Coroner’s Office officially ruled Monday that a feral hog assault caused her death, he said. The death was ruled an accident.
“In my 35 years, I will tell you it’s one of the worst things I’ve ever seen,” Hawthorne said during a news conference.
Only four fatal wild pig attacks have ever been reported in the United States, including three instances where the pig was injured during a hunt, according to a study published in 2013 from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Feral hogs are considered an invasive species or “nuisance animals” in Texas. Their takeover of the state has been well documented. They tear up lawns and plants, poop in the water supply and skulk around highways, according to a 2017 report in the Dallas Morning News.
Texas landowners can get rid of a hog in their property by any means necessary, including shooting, snaring, trapping and capture with dogs trained for that purpose, according the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension website.
The sheriff passed his condolences along to Rollins’ family and the elderly couple she was caring for. The couple lived on about 10 or 12 acres of pasture and woods, and the feral hogs had taken over part of their land, he said.
He said Rollins likely arrived at the home in early-morning hours, when it was still dark outside. Feral hogs primarily feed at night and during twilight hours, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
“It looks like she got out of her car and locked it,” Hawthorne said. “[She] was probably trying to make her way to the front door when it appears these animals must have come along.”
Jay R. Jordan covers breaking news in the Houston area. Read him on our breaking news site, Chron.com, and our subscriber site, HoustonChronicle.com — Follow him on Twitter at @JayRJordan — Email him at [email protected] ___
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