A woman who was found dead outside a home in rural south Texas was killed by wild hogs, authorities said Monday.
The body of Christine Marie Rollins, 59, of Liberty, was discovered Sunday morning in the front yard of a residence in Anahuac, in Chambers County east of Houston, sheriff's investigators said.
"In my 35 years, I will tell you it's one of the worst things I've ever seen," Sheriff Brian Hawthorne told reporters Monday.
Rollins had been a caretaker for the elderly owners of the home, authorities said. When she failed to show up for work on Sunday, one of the homeowners checked outside and saw her body on the ground between her vehicle and the front door, investigators said.
Hawthorne said an autopsy determined that Rollins died of blood loss resulting from a feral hog assault.
"No doubt in my mind that it was multiple animals, and we can tell that from the different sizes of the bites," he said.
The homeowners' dogs are thought to have run off the hogs, Hawthorne said.
"This is a very rare incident — [from] just what little research we have found there's less than six of these that have been reported in the nation," he said.
Download the NBC News app for breaking news
Tony Sandles Jr., Rollins' son-in-law, said she would have turned 60 on Christmas Day.
"The way it happened was just shocking, Sandles told NBC affiliate KPRC of Houston. "It was just a tragic way to find out she passed away."
Rollins said his mother-in-law was a fun-loving woman who was always smiling and was a devoted fan of the San Francisco 49ers.
"She would not only give you the shirt off her back, but also the pants, as well," he said. "She was just that type of person."
Hawthorne said Texas law allows hunting of wild hogs because of what he called "an infestation across the state."
"The hog population is not going down, so I guess you'd have to say the problem is not going down," he said.
The state Parks and Wildlife Department said Texas has been overrun by more than 1.5 million wild hogs in recent decades because of disease eradication, limited natural predators and high reproductive potential.
"There seem to be very few inhibiting factors to curtail this population growth and distribution," it said.