Dog Killer Still At Large

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John and Victoria Stataro are frustrated that the person who murdered their 14-year-old cocker spaniel, Lady Bug, has not been brought to justice.

"We feel the police could apply more pressure to the people who were there that night," Stataro said. "If they put some pressure on these people, maybe they will spill the beans."

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Despite nearly a $3,000 reward, no witnesses have come forward with information about the killing of Lady Bug.

The Stataros were out of town when three people broke into the home to throw a birthday party for a friend. At some point, someone shot an arrow at Lady Bug, piercing her through the abdomen.

According to investigating police officer Joni Varga, Lady Bug bled for several hours before retreating to her dog house to die. More than 30 people were in the home amidst Lady Bug's suffering.

Brandy Brewer, 20, was one of the individuals who broke into the home. Brewer was charged with burglary, but others have yet to be charged.

Despite a mounting reward, no one has come forward to tell police what they know.

Payson Police Lt. Don Engler said the case has come to a standstill.

"We did charge one individual with burglary, which is a pretty substantial felony," Engler said. "I am reviewing the case personally and will see if there are any additional charges we can bring on individuals involved."

Engler said the department is nearing the end of what they are able to do.

"We've completed all the interviews and the one lead that we had didn't pan out," Engler said. "So far, we haven't had anything that has led anywhere. We will send it to the county attorney's office for review and let them determine (whether) any other additional charges are applicable for the people at the party. As far as actually having a suspect in the dog shooting, we haven't come any closer to finding out who did it."

Stataro said that Varga has been working very hard on the case, but feels she is the only officer who has shown interest in the case.

When Stataro's oldest daughter left for college, Lady Bug became his 8-year-old daughter's dog.

"My daughter thought the dog died because she wasn't taking good enough care of her," Stataro said. "She is in counseling now."

Stataro said she was hospitalized after Lady Bug's death because she wouldn't eat.

"She'd sit up all night waiting for the dog to come home," Stataro said. "The people who did this think it's no big deal because it was just a dog, but the dog was part of our family -- they don't know the damage they've done to my daughter."

According to Stataro, items were stolen from his home that night, including a credit card machine that is vital to his plumbing business. He said there were blood smears in the bathroom and a pair of pliers that was used to try to pull the arrow out of Lady Bug.

Stataro said he is very appreciative of those who have offered their support and added to the reward money.

"I was up in Christopher Creek and they have a big sign with a picture of Lady Bug and on the same sign is a picture of the old man who was killed by the teenager in Heber -- they are so mad about it."

Varga said it may be possible that none of the individuals at the party were involved in the shooting of Lady Bug.

"The dog had been known to wander around the neighborhood," Varga said. "I really believe if anyone of those kids knew anything, they would have said something. They were all really worried."

After reading all the reports, Engler said it is a possibility that the dog was shot elsewhere.

The reward for information leading to the conviction of Lady Bug's killer is now nearly $3,000. Anyone with information relevant to this case is asked to call the police at (928) 474-5177.

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