Decapitated Animals Dumped in Reichmuth Park Remain a Mystery

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Police in Sacramento, California, are searching for information on who would have beheaded animals — including chickens, a cow and even a tortoise — and stuff their severed heads and bodies into paper bags before dumping the remains in various city parks. The latest gruesome find occurred in Reichmuth Park on Tuesday, when police said a woman and children came across a paper bag with a lamb or goat's head stashed inside, reported NBC affiliate KCRA.

Parkgoer Zann Gates said she and others first found eight to 12 chicken bodies without the heads in January. "Someone did this on purpose," she told KCRA. "We don't know if it was cruel or not, and then the packages are left there for other people to find."

After the chickens, the city's Animal Control officers found a tortoise in a bag earlier this month, then a goat in a cardboard box and the possible lamb or goat head this week. "This is wrong on so many levels, and it's disturbing," Gina Knepp, of the Sacramento Animal Control Services, told KCRA. While there is speculation that the animal killings may be part of a religious ritual, Knepp said, butchering them and then dumping their bodies is "not appropriate and it's not legal."

Similar cases were reported at two other city parks, including the discovery of the head of a full-grown cow, KCRA said.

— Erik Ortiz