A missing Venus man was eaten by his own dogs on his Johnson County property, the sheriff said Wednesday.
Freddie Mack, 57, was last seen on April 9 in Venus, according to a missing person report from the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Mack, who lived alone in his Johnson County home, was listed as a disabled adult, the DPS missing person report stated.
“During the course of our investigation it was found that Freddie suffered from serious medical conditions, so we will never know if the dogs killed Mr. Mack or consumed him after he died from a medical condition,” said Johnson County Sheriff Adam King in a Wednesday news release.
Deputies with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched on a welfare check on May 6, but they had problems looking for Mack because of aggressive dogs on his property. At time, there were 18 mixed-breed dogs on the property in a fenced-in area surrounding a small mobile home, where Mack lived.
“Using distraction methods to keep dogs away, deputies were able to investigate some of the property but were unable to locate Freddie,” King said. “Freddie’s family told deputies that he had stopped contact with them in the past but had been in contact with them for several years even calling for rides to the store at least twice a month.”
Deputies on May 9 used a drone to look for Mack on the property because they again were unable to enter the property for fear of the dogs. The drone search did not turn up any evidence of Mack. The next day, Mack was entered into TCIC/NCIC (Texas Crime Information Center/National Crime Information Center) as a missing person.
Authorities and family members used social media in their attempts to find Mack, but no tips were received. Deputies began to feed and water the dogs after family members reported they couldn’t.
“According to family and neighbors, it was uncommon for Freddie to leave his dogs unattended,” King said.
On May 15, another search of the property was conducted and a small piece of bone was found by a detective. Days later and armed with a search warrant, detectives found four other small pieces of bone. An anthropologist was called to the scene and told detectives that officials with the medical examiner’s office should test the bones.
Detectives also collected strips of cloth, suspected human hair and other bone fragments for testing. The missing persons report stated Mack was possibly wearing khaki pants, but there was no further description of clothes.
The remains were analyzed by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office, and the bones were sent to the University of North Texas Center for Human Remains Identification.
Officials with the medical examiner’s office notified detectives on Tuesday, positively identifying the remains and DNA collected as belonging to Mack. Family members also were notified that day.
Deputies seized 16 dogs, and authorities have obtained an order to euthanize 13 of them. Initially, there were 18 dogs, but two were killed by other dogs.
Mack cared deeply for the stray dogs that would show up outside his mobile home, his sister told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in a phone interview Wednesday night.
Sometimes, neighbors would drop off a dog, and he would find it hard to decline to help.
“He called them his babies,” Melinda Dixon said of the collection of dogs her brother had on his 2 1/2 acres of land in Venus.