SEATTLE — Authorities are still trying to determine what happened to a farmer near Riverton, Ore., who apparently was eaten by his hogs. Whether the animals attacked him or he collapsed inside the pen is unknown.
Terry Vance Garner, 69, was raising several hogs weighing up to 700 pounds. His remains were found last week in the hog enclosure at his farm, but authorities have not been able to determine a cause of death.
“All we know is he died some way, and the pigs ate him. Most of him,” Garner’s brother, Michael Garner, told the Los Angeles Times.
Coos County Dist. Atty. R. Paul Frasier said in a news release that authorities are trying to determine whether Garner was attacked by the animals and knocked to the ground, or whether he perhaps suffered a heart attack or other malady and fell unconscious inside the pen. Foul play has not been ruled out.
Frasier said a family member discovered Garner’s body after he went out to feed the hogs and was not seen for several hours.
Garner’s dentures were found in the pen. “Further searching of the enclosure revealed that Mr. Garner’s body was in several pieces, with a great majority of the body having been consumed by the hogs,” Frasier said.
Authorities said at least one of the hogs had previously bitten the farmer.
Garner, a Vietnam War veteran, raised the giant hogs — larger than most of those sold for food — and provided piglets as 4-H projects for local youths.
“He’s an animal lover. He couldn’t do anything else with them. He wouldn’t sell them to eat, or anything else,” his brother said.
“He didn’t just have pigs, he had all kinds of animals. People would drop by his house and just drop stuff off, and he’d take it in and raise it,” he said. “He’s a good guy. He’s my little brother.”