Autopsy report released in fatal dog mauling of man in Homestead

Manuel Mejia suffered injuries throughout body, report says

HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Local 10 News has obtained the autopsy report in the case of the Homestead man who was mauled to death by a pack of dogs last month.

According to the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner Department, dog mauling is a relatively rare cause of death.

"In the last decade, about one per year is what we see," said Darren Caprara, the ME's director of operations. "This is one of the few cases where we actually have a multiple dog attack."

Manuel Mejia, who was 5 feet 2 inches tall and weighed 188 pounds, was no match for the pack attack the night of April 23 by seven or more Belgian Malinois-bulldog mixes that lived at the dragon fruit farm where Mejia also lived and worked.

His girlfriend, Pamela Babineau, said she tried to intervene, but she did not say what might have provoked the attack.

"You're not afraid of dogs for your own personal safety?" Local 10 News reporter Glenna Milberg asked her.

"No," she said. 

The autopsy was done the day after Mejia died at Kendall Regional Medical Center. It documented wounds to almost every part of his body, including his head, neck, chest, abdomen, back and legs. He had seven fractured ribs, puncture wounds, abrasions, and hemorrhaging and internal bleeding, as well as contusions on his heart and lungs.

"The wounds were quite severe. They were all over his body," Caprara said. "So what we see is indicative of a very vicious attack."

Babineau told police three dogs instigated the attack and up to seven others joined in.

Animal control officers cited owner Reynaldo Torres for unregistered and unlicensed dogs and ordered him to keep the dogs contained during the course of the investigation.


About the Author:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."