A 13-year-old New Jersey boy was found dead late Friday, hours after he and a friend were attacked by a bullmastiff dog while walking home from school.
The New York Post reported that the dog attacked the boys at around 3 p.m. Friday at an intersection in the town of Paterson. The boys took off in different directions when they saw the dog coming.
One of the boys was treated at a local hospital for a bite on his arm. The other boy was later reported missing. Hours later, a search party that included the victim's father and the friend discovered the boy's body near a creek that runs into the Passaic River.
"The boy said, 'I got bit by a dog and I can't find my friend, we're looking for him,'" neighbor Maria Zachus, 49, told the Post. "Then I heard the guy say, 'He’s here, he’s here! I found him!' ... The father was screaming and crying, 'My son, my son, my son — but why here, oh God why, why?'"
It was not immediately clear that the dog had actually fatally mauled the boy. An autopsy is pending.
The Post reported that the 115-pound dog, known as Trigger, also attacked its owner, Paul Clarke, on Friday. Clarke stabbed the dog multiple times to stop its attack before animal control officers "humanely euthanized" the animal.
Paterson's chief animal control officer, John DeCando, told the Bergen (N.J.) Record that he believes the boy's death is the first fatality resulting from an animal attack -- either directly or indirectly.