A man suspected of cutting the head off a teenage girl’s dog and leaving it at her front door in a gift-wrapped box was in jail Friday on suspicion of terrorist threats.
The 24-year-old man, who was not immediately charged, used to date Crystal Brown, the girl’s grandmother said. Crystal, 17, immediately told police she suspected him because he expressed jealousy after she ended a relationship with him and dated someone else, her grandmother Shirley Brown said.
“I think I can sleep a lot better now,” said Crystal, who found Valentine’s Day candy and a garbage bag containing her pet’s head in the box. “It will make me feel way safer. Now we can walk around the whole block.”
Police said the man lived a few blocks from the home Crystal shares with her grandmother.
“He was a neighbor. He ate at my table. I’ve given him rides to work,” Shirley Brown said. “I befriended this kid.”
Crystal was devastated last month when Chevy, her 4-year-old Australian shepherd mix, went missing. Two weeks later, the gift box addressed to Crystal was found at her front door.
Janet Hafner, a spokeswoman for the Ramsey County attorney’s office, said the man may be charged Friday. If so, he would make his first court appearance later in the day.
Crystal has a new puppy, named Diesel. Her grandmother said they are bonding after just a few short weeks.
“That dog’s only 10 weeks old, and she’s already got him sitting up and shaking hands,” Shirley Brown said. “That’s just Crystal — she’s always loved animals.”
The case drew widespread media attention. The television show “America’s Most Wanted” posted the case on its Web site, and donations pushed a $2,500 reward offered by the Humane Society of the United States to $20,000.
Dale Bartlett, the Humane Society’s deputy manager for animal cruelty issues, said it’s the most generous response the organization has ever seen to an award. He said the Browns could themselves be eligible for the award, since they apparently led police to the suspect.
“After what they’ve been through, I can’t think of anyone I would rather see the award go to,” Bartlett said. He said that determination will be made after a conviction in the case, with input from investigators who worked on the case.