When Terry Vance Garner failed to return from feeding his pigs last Wednesday, a family member who went to check on him made a horrifying discovery: what appeared to be Garner’s remains, including his dentures, strewn throughout the hog pen, according to a report in the Eugene, Ore., Register-Guard.
Authorities believe the 700-lb. pigs may have knocked the 69-year-old farmer down, or that Garner could have experienced a heart attack and collapsed. A pathologist was unable to determine the cause of death after examining Garner’s remains, so a forensic anthropologist at the University of Oregon will investigate further.
“For all we know, it was a horrific accident, but it’s so doggone weird that we have to look at all possibilities,” Coos County District Attorney Paul Frasier told the Register-Guard.
Garner, a Vietnam War veteran, suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, and his older brother Michael, 75, told the Register-Guard that the farm — located just outside the town of Bandon, Ore., near the Pacific coast — was a “real life-saver.” Garner raised hogs to sell the piglets to local children.
Michael Garner said a hog bit his brother last year after he unintentionally stepped on a piglet. “He said he was going to kill it, but when I asked him about it later, he said he had changed his mind,” Michael Garner said.
John Killefer, director of the Animal and Rangeland Sciences Department at Oregon State University in Corvallis, told the Register-Guard that domesticated pigs are less aggressive than their feral relatives, but attacks have occurred in the past. In 2006, the Telegraph reported, a boar pinned a man against a tractor in England, gnawing his left arm, back and legs.
Killefer said although the incident was unusual, there are risks involved in interacting with any animal and that hogs “are more omnivorous than other farm animals, [such as] cows.”
(MORE: Top 10 Animal Attacks on Humans)