SUMMERVILLE, S.C. -- A 2-month-old child was killed and dismembered by a dog in his family's South Carolina home Friday as his father slept, authorities said.
Aiden McGrew's mother called 911 when she got home around 11 a.m. and discovered the boy's leg was severed by a retriever mix the family had taken into the home a few weeks earlier, Dorchester County deputies said.
The boy died at the hospital a short time later, Coroner Chris Nisbet said in a news release.
Nisbet said the boy was bitten and dismembered, but he refused to answer additional questions about the infant's injuries. He said he hopes an autopsy scheduled for Saturday will determine if the boy was dead before the dog dismembered him.
"Today is one of the saddest days in my 20+ years of being in the Dorchester County Coroner's Office as I report to all of you one of the worst deaths I have ever handled," Nisbet wrote in his email to the media, which had the subject line "Today's Nightmare."
When the infant was injured, McGrew's mother was taking the family's 7-year-old child to the doctor. The father was sleeping in a bedroom with a 3-year-old child, while the baby was in a baby swing outside that room, Dorchester County Sheriff L.C. Knight said.
Investigators are still trying to sort out how the attack unfolded. The father was being questioned by deputies Friday afternoon, Knight said.
"It's terrible. I don't want to go into details about exactly what happened because the investigation is still ongoing," Knight said. "It was a real bad scene."
The two other children in the home have been taken into protective custody, Knight said. Prosecutors are also following the case and the sheriff expects all the investigators will meet next week to discuss if any charges should be filed.
The sheriff said that the family apparently had two dogs, one they had for some time and the dog that attacked the child which they adopted in recent days. The dog that mauled the child was in a holding pen behind the sheriff's office late Friday.
A woman answering a number listed for the home refused to talk about what happened and told a reporter to not call her back.
No one answered the door at the white mobile home in a wooded area with a cluster of similar homes about 30 miles northwest of Charleston on Friday evening. The home had a small doghouse and a small wooden porch in front.
Neighbor Shirley Pargiello said she did not really know the McGrew family who had to drive past her house on the driveway to their home set back from the road.
"I only saw them getting in and out of their car but they were very loving to their children," she said. She said the family's second dog was a yellow lab and she had never seen the smaller dog that had been taken away by deputies.
"I know they have to be in shock," she said. "I know what it's like to have children and grandchildren."