Owner of 3 dogs that mauled 9-year-old girl to death charged with murder

DETROIT — The owner of three dogs who mauled a 9-year-old Detroit girl to death on Aug. 19 has been charged with murder, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office said on Thursday, Aug. 22.

According to court records, the suspect was charged second degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, and having a dangerous animal, causing death. An arraignment was expected at 1 p.m. on Thursday.

Family members said 9-year-old Emma Hernandez was riding her bike when she was mauled and killed by a pack of dogs on Monday afternoon.

If that wasn’t bad enough, Emma’s 12-year-old brother was among those running toward the commotion, leading to him witnessing the aftermath.

Police said the girl was attacked around 4 p.m. Monday near Central Avenue and Smart Street.

Family explained that she frequently rode her bike up and down the street, and was likely trying to turn around in the alley when she was attacked. She was knocked off her bike, mauled, and killed.

One neighbor explained that she tried to help perform CPR, while the girl’s father tried to help. She ran to help because she heard the commotion.

“Mind you, I live all the way over there,” said Deborah Gordon, motioning to a block away. “You’re talking about a 9-year-old girl who was just out there playing, and now she’s not here.”

The family didn’t want to speak on camera at a time when they’re experiencing such grief. Extended family members from Texas had not yet made it to Michigan to mourn, however, they did share a few details about the girl noting she was smart, and very kind.

A number of family members live nearby, and said they’re struggling to understand how this happened. However, they noted that the dogs that attacked the girl were frequently roaming in the neighborhood. The girl’s father had reportedly spoken with the owner of the dogs within the past week.

People in the neighborhood noted that police had been called in the past.

Neighbors shot one of the three pit bulls that was involved in the attack. The dogs were taken to the Detroit Animal Care and Control. Officials there issued a statement: “Due to the severity of this case, it is very likely that the dogs will be euthanized.”

Emma Hernandez’s family created a GoFundMe page, seeking support for funeral costs.

“Emma dedicated her life to school work, playing, and enjoying life with her family. Quick to get a head start on school work. She was such a smart and silly girl. Loved to be outdoors and play with her cousins. A beautiful soul inside and out. We are all devastated by Emma’s loss, and were not prepared for the high cost of a funeral service. We want to give Emma the memorial she deserves, to honor her memory, and say our last goodbyes. I am currently asking for donations to help cover the cost of Emma’s funeral.”

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