Sheriff Matt Lutz spoke to media outlets Thursday morning to wrap up the release of exotic animals and the death of their owner Terry Thompson.
Sheriff Lutz said a coroner’s report confirms that Thompson died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound and that he suffered a bite to his head that appeared to have come from a large cat, like a bengal tiger just moments later. In all 56 animals were on the property, 48 were killed by law enforcement, one was killed by a cat and six were taken to the Columbus Zoo. The sheriff said he understands the public outcry over the death of these animals.
"We understand that there are people frustrated and disappointed and mad," said Sheriff Matt Lutz. "We are. We’re the ones that had to deal with it at this time."
A picture floating around the internet also shows animals shot by the Muskingum County Sheriff’s Office stretched out on the landscape of the farm. Lutz addressed the photo.
"The picture was not released by me," explained Lutz. "There was no employee of mine that had authorization to release that photo. We’re not going to make a mockery of the scene there was no reason in the world for those photos to get out. No reason."
Still unaccounted for is a monkey which may carry Herpes B. Sheriff Lutz said they’ve had no reports of anyone seeing the animals and believe it may have been eaten by one of the cats on the property. All animals were buried on the property. The sheriff warns anyone caught searching for the site will face criminal trespassing charges.