Wild Horses Nevada. Andy Barron / AP Photo.

A Mustang murder mystery in northern Nevada

WILD HORSES NEVADA (Warning: Graphic Image) — On May 10, 2017, Tuesday’s Horse received an email from the Professor and Chair of the Geological and Environmental Sciences Department of a California University stating he was leading a student field trip in Northumberland Canyon south of Austin, Nevada the previous weekend and they discovered the following:

We came across six horse carcasses, all missing their heads. This was very disturbing to the students and I am trying to figure out what happened. Was there planned culling of wild horses? Why would the heads be removed?

The headless remains of a Mustang found in northern Nevada taken by a student while on a geological field trip in the Austin area. May 2017.
The headless remains of a Mustang found in northern Nevada taken by a student while on a geological field trip in the Austin area. May 2017.

The Professor had not been able to reach the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) so reached out to us for assistance.

At long last I tracked down the right BLM office thanks to the coordinates the Professor provided.

After several email exchanges and a few phone calls with a BLM agent in that office, we made little progress figuring out what had happened to these Mustangs or why.

Here is a summary of those exchanges:

• It is highly likely these Mustangs were shot and killed. Although rare in the area, other wild horses have been shot and killed and left on the side of the road in much the same manner.

• The heads were either removed by trophy hunters or for use in local rituals. It is also possible someone discovered the carcasses and removed the skulls much later and cleaned them to use as relics. The heads are not missing because of scavengers.

• Due to the vastness and remoteness of the area it is close to impossible to find any witnesses. Investigators often have to rely on hearsay such as “someone bragging” about the kill.

My BLM contact agreed to talk with other field agents plus get in touch with the U.S. Forestry Service for their input.

A few days later my BLM contact reconnected to tell me that wild horses killed in suspicious circumstances do fall under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Forestry Service and they would determine whether or not to investigate.

An agent of the U.S. Forestry Service contacted me with the following:

• They had discovered carcasses like these the previous year, perhaps even as early as Spring 2016, and they were “probably the same ones”.

• Due to the condition of the carcasses and the amount of time elapsed they have little to nothing to go on and did not feel it warranted the time and expense of an investigation. No one offered an explanation why they took no action at the time they first found the dead horses other than “it’s too hard”.

• They have come across dead Mustangs before where they suspected foul play and occasionally seen heads removed like this.

• The missing heads were not the result of scavenging.

It was never quite clear to me when coming across something like this, how they determine when it is worth investigating and when it is not.

The BLM and USFS were not the only ones. I also contacted a noted investigative reporter who also declined.

So Now What?

The agents I dealt with were responsive. Perhaps it ended the way it did with me at the direction of higher ups.

Yet wait a minute. Any way you look at it, murdering a Mustang is a federal crime. Murdering six. Leaving the six dead horses at the side of the same road. Removing their heads. Surely that warrants at least some looking into.

Something must be done or these murders, even if only committed sporadically, will continue.

I offered a reward for the arrest and conviction of these Mustang Murderers. The response?

I appreciate knowing about the reward and I will see how that might be promoted.

End of story? I thought so until a few minutes ago. We’ll let you know. Stay tuned.

16 thoughts on “A Mustang murder mystery in northern Nevada”

  1. Please post the contact number for the Forestry Service, so people may call to urge them to investigate. It seems odd that the BLM, tasked with the animals oversight, does not investigate crimes like this.


  2. Justice needs served. Cold hard and fast. This is a crime that often involves the horse slaughter anti wild horse propaganda. Those animals suffered, they were killed yet the BLM and Forrest Service Act like it’s just another day in the hood, that’s how they usually treat drivebys in a real hardened inner cities where cops are unable to control it. This is in Nevada, there’s no drivebys, and better yet they might find a human killer just practicing on horse victims. Perfecting a craft. The fact is they simply don’t seem to give a crap. The Agencies that are supposed to protect and Ser ve. Serve is an action, meaning legwork, they don’t need witnesses, they should have a bullet in a carcass that can be tracked to weapon type, they can put out not just monetary rewards but incentives to keep horses safe. Service is to the term Poachers getting caught, jailed, fined, or appropriate actions. Poachers are dangerous people. Even in the case of just taking heads that is a deviant crime which indicates brutality. This isn’t just about horse deaths, this is a Diservice to protect the countryside they claim to love unless their own employees did it.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. We need to stand up to them (BLM) why is no one protesting about this? If you don’t get out there this will keep happening . Shame on them for not going a investigation in this. But if you call and write and and protesting to make then do there jobs. Call the mayor and your republican and Democrats .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. People protest but the condescending jerks call people AT terrorists and have proslaughters screaming foul hiding behind their back like school yard bullies that pretend to be tough. I mean they can’t handle the truth so they simply push it out of their way. We need to stand Up Against the BLM with a March to Congress, but then they call out the riot police on a peaceful protest and beat people to death to be peaceful. Does that answer it?.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. In this day and age of social media, more sickos are committing such atrocities knowing that doing so will draw attention. We have to do a better job at catching these criminals and punishing them to the highest extent of the law. These are future serial killers.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. is this just the tip of the iceberg??? a few years back I heard a few hunters stating there was a large boneyard of shot wild horses near Muleshoe Nv. We didn’t find them. Its a big remote area…most of Nevada is.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. They were probably killed and the heads removed for trophy purposes. I am not surprised at the response by the “entity/bureau” that are paid salaries by all of us taxpayers in the least. They do not seem to care about the wild horses beyond rounding them up. Thanks for reporting on this though, another wild horse anomaly that will go unsolved….

    Liked by 1 person

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