Mystery of horse found dead at cemetery puzzles investigators

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El Dorado County sheriff’s officials are investigating how a horse disappeared from its stall at a ranch and ended up dead at a nearby cemetery.

The 35-year-old gelding named Trumpet was found partially impaled on a decorative iron fence at Jayhawk Cemetery.

At the cemetery, above a makeshift memorial with three candles and a cross of flowers, is a reward poster offering $5,000 for the capture and prosecution of whoever was responsible for the horse’s death and ‘unknown brutal acts’ committed against the animal. The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office says the reward is being offered by the horse’s owner — who is remaining anonymous because she fears retaliation.

‘She’s had that horse for a long time, and that was her favorite horse,’ said neighbor Tom O’Brien.


Detectives are struggling to piece together what happened between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. on Jan. 30 when Trumpet disappeared from its stall. Investigators found no damage to the gate or other gates leading out of the property. The cemetery where Trumpet’s body was found is also gated. A horse blanket it was wearing was found nearby.

‘But it wasn’t ripped, it wasn’t torn, and the buckles that held it on were in good shape,’ said Lt. Tim Becker of the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities don’t know whether the death was a torture killing or even whether a person was responsible for horse’s journey to the cemetery, Becker said. Some neighbors, however, are convinced the horse was taken out of its stall, perhaps because someone had a disagreement with the owner.

‘It’s a helpless, harmless animal, and if you have a problem with somebody, you deal with that person,’ said Jeff Lewis, who lives near the cemetery.


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-- Fox 40 Sacramento