Pregnant Frenchwoman was killed by her own dog, not hunting hounds, says police source

Pregnant Frenchwoman was killed by her own dog, not hunting hounds, says police source
The woman was walking in the woods when she was attacked. Illustration photo: AFP
A pregnant Frenchwoman who died while walking in the woods during a deer hunt was killed by her partner's dog and not the hunting hounds, a source close to the probe and a hunting club said Tuesday after DNA testing.

Elisa Pilarski, 29, lost her life while out walking her partner's American Staffordshire terrier Curtis in Retz forest northeast of Paris in November 2019.

 

She was six months pregnant at the time. The mysterious circumstances of the case sparked huge interest in France and became a cause latched on to by pro- and anti-hunting advocates.

A post-mortem showed that Pilarski died of bleeding after several dog bites to the upper and lower limbs and the head.

Suspicion initially fell on the hunting hounds but DNA tests on 67 dogs incriminated her partner's dog Curtis instead, the local hunting club announced.

“The results of the DNA tests definitively confirm the innocence of the hounds,” the Rallye La Passion club said, adding that they showed Curtis to be the killer.

Another source close to the investigation, who asked not to be named, told AFP that the terrier's DNA was found on Pilarski's dog bites and added that her DNA was also found on his leash.

Just before the attack Pilarski had phoned her partner, Christophe Ellul, to tell him that she had come across threatening dogs and had difficulty keeping Curtis on his leash.

Ellul arrived on the scene around 45 minutes later to find her body in a ravine, next to Curtis and a pack of hounds.

Her clothes had been torn off.

Ellul accused the hounds over her death, allegations the hunting club vigorously denied.

DNA tests were carried out on 62 hounds and five dogs belonging to Pilarski and Ellul, including Curtis.

Pilarski's mother said her daughter had never been alone with Curtis before.

After her death, the terrier went on to bite a person at a dog pound.


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  1. So, is this the official verdict or based on the police’s veiw of the matter? I don’t know how inquests work in France.
    It all sounds suspicious, but what ever the circumstances it’s a trajic end to the young woman and her baby.

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