After a two-month long investigation, Fairfax County Police have made an arrest in connection with the animal slayings that occurred at Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon, Va.
The suspect is a local 17-year-old boy.
On May 29, Digital Journal had reported of the animal attacks that occurred at Kidwell Farm, a section of Frying Pan Farm Park. An earlier attack in April occurred at an equestrian facility that is adjacent to the county-run farm. The injured horses belong to the Spirit Open Equestrian Program, which teaches disabled children how to ride.
According to Fairfax County Police, the suspect has been charged with both the April and May animal slashings. The teen, of Herndon, is now facing four felony counts of maiming animals, three misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals and two counts of unlawful entry.
“The felony charges are for three horses and one calf, while the three misdemeanor charges are for two goats and one chicken,” police spokesperson Lucy Caldwell said, reported Fairfax Times.
Fairfax County Police
A calf was injured at Kidwell Farm in May 2012 Fairfax County authorities were investigating two separate animal attacks that occurred in Apr. and May.
The Washington Post reported the teen used a 22-inch machete to injure the farm animals and the horses at the equestrian center. In addition, the Post reports "every bit as bizarre as the attacks," also "involved a video [and] a black mask," the Post article said.
Allegedly, in the equestrian attack the teen, wearing a black mask and black clothing, was tossed off the back of a horse he was trying to ride as he filmed himself, and in his anger he attacked the horses.
“[The teen] said he was mad and began to hit the horse,” according to the search warrant. “He also told the [informant] he then hit the other horses.”
After the Kidwell Farm attacks occurred, the Friends of Frying Pan Park offered a $7,500 reward. A week later an anonymous tipster came forward and told what was known.
“The reward was an excellent incentive and brought lots of public attention to the case,” Caldwell said.
"Based on a tip investigators received on Friday, June 22, officers arrested the teen on Saturday, June 23 around 4 p.m. at the Reston Police District station," Fairfax County Police said in a statement. "Police express their gratitude to the community for helping to keep this case active and in the public eye."
Due to the age of the suspect, a name has not been released publicly.
All the animals are expected to recover from the injuries.
“Although this incident was deeply disturbing and very saddening, the community has remained positive while coming together to support the injured animals,” said Judy Pedersen, Fairfax County Park Authority spokesperson, reported the Fairfax Times. “Park Authority leadership and the Park Authority Board are extremely grateful for this outpouring of support, and Frying Pan staff wants everyone to know that the animals are healing quickly and doing well.”“We were worried about the possible consequences of the horses being able to serve special-needs students after the attacks, but everything is okay,” said Davorka Suvak, the founder of Spirit Equestrian, told the Post. “The arrest is the last piece in the picture. It gives us a sense of peace.”
Kidwell Farm is a popular park for local families who frequently visit the animals, see the newborn animals and enjoy the other sections the park has to offer. Digital Journal visited the farm early in the spring to see the newly arrived babies.