A suspect was arrested Saturday in Grays Harbor County, Washington for the brutal sexual assault and murder of a dog found hanging by her neck from a tree in March.
A mountain biker came across a dead dog hanging from a tree branch in the Summit Lake area of Thurston County, Washington on March 21. A veterinary necropsy showed that the dog had been brutally sexually assaulted before being hung, and finally dying of asphyxiation.
The suspect, James Leroy Evans, 33, was arrested Saturday on a charge of first-degree animal abuse by Thurston County Joint Animal Services and is being held on $50,000 bail. Evans is a convicted felon whose criminal history includes domestic violence, burglary and controlled substance charges. The case aired on “Washington’s Most Wanted” last week and generated tips that ultimately led to the suspect.
Evans told investigators he killed the dog because she killed his pet iguana.
In court records, authorities said Evans “seemed pleased with himself” over killing Diamond. “I believe that Mr. Evans felt like he was doing the right thing by putting her down,” Thurston County animal control officer Erika Johnson told Q13 Fox.
Erika Johnson, while working the case, had originally named the dog “Justice.” But, investigators have since learned her name was Diamond. A 3-year old Pitbull mix, Diamond worked as a therapy dog for her owner’s 8 year old son.
Diamond was temporarily staying with Evans, who offered to care for her while her owners found permanent housing that allowed dogs. Diamond had only been living with Evans for about four days before she was raped and killed.
“What this man allegedly did to Diamond is unspeakable; she suffered tremendously before she died. This person is a danger to animals and people. This will forever be a case that is burned into my mind and my heart,” Pasado’s Safe Haven’s lead investigator said. “Diamond will never be forgotten, and she will continue to drive me to pursue the monsters who abuse and neglect animals.”
Evans’ next court appearance is scheduled for April 26.