On the day that a newly formed task force met to investigate a string of cat mutilations in Washington state, police have found a 13th victim.
Thurston County Sheriff’s Detective Ben Elkins said the cat was found on private property Thursday afternoon by a homeowner who was not the owner of the cat.
A reward has grown to $36,000 as additional organizations including PETA and the Humane Society of the United States have become involved. Investigators believe the cases are connected because most of the cats’ bodies have been left in public after the animals’ spines have been removed or the animal has otherwise been mutilated.
Elkins said he couldn’t yet provide specific details on the most recent death north of the state capital of Olympia.
He said that the deaths date back to February, though several have been reported this month alone. The cats have been found in various locations across the country, with the most recent victim found in the northern part of the county near Lacey.
Elkins said representatives from several agencies, including Olympia Police and Thurston County Animal Services, were more than hour into their first joint meeting Thursday afternoon to discuss a plan when they received a call about the latest death. He said the agencies have been comparing notes and sorting through tips and coming up with a plan of action as the investigations continue.
“Someone is going to know something and they’re going to report it and eventually this person will be caught,” he said.