Authorities in southwest Florida are investigating a bizarre series of cat killings and mutilations that have occurred in East Naples.
"I have lived in this neighborhood since 1994, and nothing like this has ever occurred," 60-year-old Terry Bolle told The Huffington Post on Tuesday.
Bolle's 6-year-old cat, Sophie, was the first known feline victim.
On April 17, Sophie's dismembered head was found in the middle of the street. The lower half of its body was found at an empty lot, roughly a block away.
"It was awful," said Bolle. "She was a very loving and sweet cat."
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Since then, two more domestic cats have been found dead in the same area. The most recent was found dismembered on Sunday.
"I initially thought coyotes were responsible," said Bolle, a 32-year veteran of the Collier County Sheriff's Office, who spent five of those years as a crime scene investigator.
"But there is no blood anywhere and no bite marks," Bolle continued. "The cuts are smooth, like a machete or an axe was used. I think they are taken somewhere else, killed, and then brought back and dumped."
Bolle and other local residents have been posting flyers in the neighborhood, warning residents of the killings.
"It's terrifying," she said. "Working in law enforcement, I am well aware that serial killers usually start out torturing animals."
According to WBBH, the Collier County Sheriff's Office is investigating the killings.
In Florida, animal cruelty is considered a third-degree felony, which is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment of up to five years.
Anyone with information about the cat killings is asked to contact the sheriff's office at (239) 252-9300.