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13th mutilated cat found -- this one near Lacey

"Perfect" -- the 13th cat found killed in Thurston County (Family-provided photo)
"Perfect" -- the 13th cat found killed in Thurston County (Family-provided photo)
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LACEY, Wash. - Another mutilated cat has been discovered in Thurston County -- this time near Lacey -- bringing the count of dead cats to 13.

The latest cat was discovered Thursday afternoon near Salmon Lake SE and Steilacoom Rd SE, according to Lt. Tim Rudolff with the Thurston County Sheriff's Office.

The homeowner told investigators he wasn't aware of the recent string of cat mutilations until Thursday, and had spotted the dead animal earlier, but assumed it was killed by another animal, said Det. Ben Elkins. It wasn't until the homeowner heard about the string of cat murders that they went back and checked and found it was a mutilated cat.

“It's despicable, scary,” said Cari Brinlee, who found the mutilated cat outside her home. “You hear stories of really bad people where they get their start on mass murders from desecrating animals."

Investigators with an animal cruelty task force spent the day poring over the scene and searching the area with police dogs for evidence.

The discovery makes three dead cats found in that same area, two were found nearby last week. Elkins said it's the seventh cat found killed in a similar way.

"This is very disturbing," Elkins said. "This is someone that in our mind is sick, has some issues and is out killing cats for no reason."

Investigators don't have any indication that the killer has escalated to human victims, "but that is a definite, valid concern that this person could escalate to a human being," Elkins said.

A special task force has now been set up with detectives assigned solely to this case from Olympia, Lacey and Tumwater police departments and the Thurston County Sheriff's office to assist Thurston Joint Animal Services.

“It's just very scary and creepy and makes us not feel very safe,” said Cassie Brinlee, who lives at the home where the latest cat was discovered.

A $36,000 reward has been offered for information that leads to the arrest of the cat killer. Elkins said investigators have been receiving lots of tips, and ask those with additional tips to contact the Thurston County CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

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