Inquiry after pregnant woman killed by dogs

Police have launched a manslaughter investigation following the woman's death, and have carried out tests on 67 dogs - including five that she owned - to find out which ones were involved in the attack on her

21 November 2019
By Connexion journalist

Tests have been carried out on 67 dogs, after a pregnant woman was found dead in a forest in northern France where she had been out walking her animals.

The body of Elisa Pilarski, 29, who was six months pregnant, was found in a ravine in the Retz forest by her partner on Saturday afternoon, near the town of Villers-Cotterets, about 90km northeast of Paris. She had been out walking her dogs.

A hunt with dogs took place in the forest that afternoon.

She had earlier called her partner - who works at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport - a number of times to report the presence of "threatening dogs", sources close to the case told BFM TV. Telephone records confirm several calls from her phone to that of her partner, reports say.

Police have carried out tests on 67 dogs, including five belonging to the victim and others owned by the Le Rallye de la Passion association, which was involved in the hunt, to find out which animals attacked her. Findings from the tests could take weeks to process, BFM TV reported.

An autopsy showed that she died of "bleeding after several dog bites to the upper and lower limbs and the head," the prosecutor's office in Soissons said. Some of the bites on her body were post-mortem, and may have been caused by one or more dogs.

The national gendarmerie said that "the hunt is a lead closely studied by investigators", but that "in the current state of the investigation" could not confirm that hunting dogs caused the woman's death.

Questions over the timeline of events around the time of the woman's death - including when the hunt was in the area - are among the lines of inquiry. The post-mortem examination suggested she died between 13.00 and 13.30 on Saturday, reports say. Hunt organisers say the afternoon's hunt had not started at that time.

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