Thursday, March 16, 2017

Michigan: "I had no idea that my daughter was involved in this. I did not raise a child like this," said mother of Jessica Brown, 18, who is accused of taking her Shih Tzu, wrapping his legs and his entire face in electrical tape then stomping him to death and dumping his body on the side of the road

MICHIGAN -- For the first time, the Genesee County sheriff is speaking out about one of the 'most horrific cases' he's investigated throughout his career.

We know two people are facing charges, accused of torturing and killing a dog.

The sheriff was able to give a better indication of the timeline and more details on the torture the animal endured.

Sheriff Robert Pickell said the dog had been dead for about 10 days before its lifeless body was found by a 13-year-old boy, who remains shaken up from the gruesome discovery.

A 7-year-old Shih Tzu named Dakota was found dead last week in Vienna Tonwhip with his legs and head bound together by electrical tape.

His neck was stomped on and his body tied to a tree.

Pickell charged Nathan McCue and Jessica Brown on Wednesday. Thursday, he spoke out.

"I've never seen the torture that this dog went through and then, it wasn't enough to suffocate, to stomp on its neck and break its neck,” he said.

ABC12's Ann Pierret learned through speaking with Brown's mother that Dakota was a family dog who grew in her home since he was a puppy. Dakota was no longer in the mom's care, but the sheriff says in the care of McCue.

"We’re concerned because Dakota was urinating, urinated on him, so Brown and McCue took him from the residence and while they were walking, they decided to kill him,” Pickell said.

Brown's mom asked us to conceal her identity, but tells us she had no idea her daughter could be involved in this. She started piecing the story together and recalled a phone call from her oldest daughter, McCue's girlfriend, saying Dakota was now with an older lady.

She kept digging for answers and eventually had the heartbreaking task of identifying the dog.

"I went down to animal control, looked at the dog, discovered he had the belly button hernia, and I said, 'Yes, that's him,’” she said.

Pickell says Brown's mom is a hero here, helping to crack the case, but her concern now is the safety of her grandchild. She previously reported abuse in the home to CPS.

"She reported it simply because she was concerned about her grandchildren. If they would do that to a dog, what would they do to her grandchildren, and we know that McCue has a history of violence,” Pickell said.

The sheriff wants to see much stronger penalties for cases like this. He's planning to advocate in our state's capitol for such measures and encourages everyone else to do the same.

If convicted, McCue and Brown could be sentenced to four years in prison.

UPDATE: (03/15/17) - The Genesee County Sheriff is calling it one of the most horrific cases of dog abuse he's seen.

21-year-old Nathan McCue and 18-year-old Jessica Brown are each facing a 4-year felony for torturing and killing an animal.

The 7-year-old Shih Tzu was found dead with its face and feet bound by electrical tape in Vienna Township.

The Sheriff believes the dog had been dead for some time.

Wednesday night, we spoke with the woman who turned them in.

She wanted to remain anonymous, but tells us she heard about the case on the news, searched online for the disturbing photo and realized it was her family dog, Dakota.

Brown is actually one of her daughters, McCue is her older daughter's boyfriend.

"As soon as he'd seen you, he would just prance his little paws around and jump on your leg and just smile and just be happy," she explained.


The Shih-Tzu had been in the woman's family since he was born. She had to give Dakota up in her divorce, but he ended up in her oldest daughter's home.

"They were raised with this dog. He was a family dog. My oldest daughter has senior pictures with him. It just hurts. He did not deserve this," Brown's mother said.

The Genesee County Sheriff says her oldest daughter's boyfriend, 21-year-old Nathan McCue, and her daughter, 18-year-old Jessica Brown, are responsible for killing Dakota and dumping his body.

He was found on the side of the road last week with his legs, face and head held together with electrical tape.

"I had no idea that my daughter was involved in this. I did not raise a child like this," she said.

As soon as Brown's mother heard about the abuse, she feared McCue was responsible.

She had just called CPS about the dog's abuse, concerned about her Grandbaby in McCue's home.

"I told them that the dog was urinating on the floor, he was pooping on the deck, he was not being properly let out, he was not being fed," she said. "If they did this to this dog, my fear is my Grandbaby."

Another innocent life that gave her the courage to speak up against her family.

"I feel they deserve it. If they did this they deserve it. I can't stand up for somebody that does this. I can't," she added.

Brown's mother hasn't spoken to her children or McCue since she saw the photos. She tells us she's still in disbelief, she can barely sleep at night.

(ABC12 - March 15, 2017)