Dead woman in Costco parking lot had been attacked by dogs, California police say

A dead woman discovered over the weekend in a Costco parking lot in California had been attacked by dogs, according to Bakersfield police.

Bakersfield police Sgt. Nathan McCauley said the woman — who was homeless, in her 30s or 40s and has not been identified — was found with traumatic dog attack injuries around 6 a.m. Sunday at the store along Rosedale Highway, the Los Angeles Times reports.

First responders pronounced the woman dead at the scene and said she had died hours before authorities arrived, the Bakersfield Californian reported.

Bakersfield police did not respond to McClatchy’s request for comment on the woman’s death.

Police said three dogs attacked the woman, including one stray and two that were owned by a nearby business, according to the Californian.

“This is an extremely, extremely rare occurrence,” McCauley said, assuring the public that packs of dogs aren’t roving around the city, according to the Californian.

One dog was a mixed breed, the Californian reported, while the others were pit bull terriers.

“We’re not sure if the dogs caused her death or if she had another medical issue,” McCauley said, adding that a fight between the dogs and the victim likely started in a nearby industrial yard based on paw prints found at the scene, according to the Times.

Police said the dogs are all in animal control custody, 23ABC reports. The dogs will be euthanized, according to the TV station. A nearby auto shop shared surveillance video with 23ABC that shows one of the dogs involved in the attack walking in the area.

Surveillance video obtained by 17 News shows two of the three animals suspected of being involved in the attack in the area in the hours before the incident, according to the TV station.

Neighbors said homeless people frequent the area, as well as dogs that business owners assumed belonged to the homeless individuals, according to 17 News.

Business owners said they thought one of the animals involved was pregnant, 17 News reports.

“I’ve seen those two particular dogs walk around once in a blue moon,” Jaime Camorlinga, owner of Central Valley Performance auto shop, told 23ABC. “I never thought about them as dangerous or anything.”

Police said the Kern County Coroner’s Office will determine and release the woman’s official cause of death, according to 17 News.

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Jared Gilmour is a McClatchy national reporter based in San Francisco. He covers everything from health and science to politics and crime. He studied journalism at Northwestern University and grew up in North Dakota.