Oregon farmer Terry V. Garner, 70, went to feed his hogs at his farm near rural Riverton Wednesday. A family member who went to investigate after he failed to return for several hours found only his dentures and few body parts strewn in the hog enclosure.
According to NY Daily News, family members reported the incident to the authorities, and the Coos County Sheriff's office is conducting an investigation to determine how Garner "ended up in a position where the hogs were able to consume him," NBC News reports.
According to NBC, a statement by the Sheriff's department, said:
"There are several scenarios being investigated, including that Mr. Garner had a health event, such as a heart attack, which then put him in a position where the hogs could consume him. Another scenario being investigated is that given the age and health of Mr. Garner, that one or more of the hogs knocked Mr. Garner to the ground, whereupon that hogs killed and consumed him."
Yet another scenario is that Garner accidentally slipped, fell and was knocked unconscious, and the pigs attacked and ate him. A friend of the family who answered the phone at the Garner's home reportedly said, "What a way." NY Daily News reports it is not clear how many pigs were in the enclosure.
Investigators are not ruling out the possibility of foul play and that another person was present at the scene when the accident happened. KCBY reports that the District Attorney Paul Frasier, said: “Due to the unusual circumstances, the Sheriff’s Office is investigating to determine if foul play may have resulted in the death of Mr. Garner.”
The statement by the Sheriffs's office indicated that at least one of the hogs had acted aggressively toward the farmer before. It is unclear how many pigs were in the enclosure but each pig weighed about 700 pounds (320 kg).
Pathologists who examined the farmer's remains on Saturday were unable to determine the exact cause of death. A forensic anthropologist at the University of Oregon would also examine the remains, NBC reports.
Pigs are omnivorous animals and feed on both plant and animal tissues. A large hungry pig may attack a weak adult or a child.
NBC reports this is not the first time hogs have attacked and eaten a farmer. UPI reported in 2004 that pigs attacked, knocked unconscious and ate a 56-year-old Romanian woman. The report was unclear whether the woman survived, but said the pigs ate her ears and much of her face. Her shocked husband said: "I'll never breed such beasts again."
Farmers are advised to keep young children away from pig pens.