Case involving mysterious donkey deaths solved
Photo courtesy of Callie West Evans/GoFundMe

The Mississippi Agricultural and Livestock Theft Bureau (MALTB), the law enforcement division of the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce, solved the investigation into the mysterious deaths of miniature donkeys in Smith County. The investigation was led by MALTB Investigator Jamie Taylor.

The investigation began on May 20, 2019, when Taylor received a call from the Smith County Sheriff’s Office stating that a miniature donkey had been killed on a farm. The owners reported that the donkey had been shot, which led to the investigation in conjunction with the Smith County Sheriff’s Office.

By June 1, three additional miniature donkeys had been killed. Numerous interviews and other investigative techniques resumed until evidence was captured.

During the night of July 3, surveillance equipment recorded three dogs attacking and killing a fifth miniature donkey. Experts then determined the death of all five donkeys was not the result of a gunshot, but rather from attacks by dogs.

“While this was an unfortunate incident, I am glad to know that the case has been solved, and I commend the efforts of Investigator Taylor and the Smith County Sherriff’s Office,” said Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson.

At the time, Callie West Evans, the donkeys’ owner, launched a GoFundMe page in hopes of offering a reward for information on what happened to the donkeys. In a Facebook post, Evans praised the investigators for their work on the case.

“We want to thank the investigators who put in so much time and energy, and to thank all of our friends for the support we received,” she wrote.

Evans went on to say that all donations to the GoFundMe page will be refunded.

MALTB Director, Dean Barnard, praised Investigator Taylor and local law enforcement officials for their dedication to this case. “I appreciate the relentless efforts of Investigator Taylor and the assistance of the Smith County Sherriff’s Office in investigating this case,” said Barnard.

The Mississippi Agricultural and Livestock Theft Bureau enforces state laws pertaining to the theft of cattle, horses, swine, poultry, fish, farm equipment, chemicals, timber and all other farm or agriculture-related crimes. To report or provide information regarding an agricultural crime, call (800) 678-2660.