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Grand jury indicts 3 family members in dog mauling that killed a 6-year-old son

DONA ANA COUNTY, NM - Three members of the same family are facing charges in the dog-mauling death of 6-year-old Avery Jackson-Dunphy on November 22, 2021.

The Third Judicial District Attorney's office reviewed the case and filed charges which were true-billed by a Grand Jury on July 29, 2022.

Danika Jackson, Avery's mother, is charged with child abuse resulting in death (reckless).

Avery's grandfather, Kevin Owens, is charged with child abuse resulting in death and dangerous dogs (death of a person).

Leslie Owens, Avery's grandmother, is charged with dangerous dogs (death of a person).

The attack happened on Nov. 22, 2021, Dona Ana County Sheriff's were called out to a dog attack in a Mesilla Park neighborhood involving a child.

Deputies found that the 6-year-old boy had entered a yard where six dogs were kept, three of those dogs had previously shown signs of aggression.

Avery was flown to El Paso Children's Hospital in El Paso with wounds to his neck and chest, but he did not survive his injuries.

The dogs were euthanized as a result of the attack, two adult dogs, 4 adolescents and a puppy mix.

“At the urging of Avery’s father, Patrick Dunphy and his family, we asked the Sheriff’s Department for their investigation into the child’s death. The District Attorney’s Office was not notified of the incident by the Sheriff’s office and learned of the child’s death through media reports. As the chief law officer of the state in Doña Ana County; I have the authority to advise on matters in the public interest, and bring criminal charges, especially when it involves a death investigation. This is a horrible and tragic incident. During the review process, we assessed the facts in view of the relevant law and presented the case to the Grand Jury which found probable cause to charge each named defendant with felony offenses,” said Third Judicial District Attorney, Gerald Byers.

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Yvonne Suarez

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