Committee to investigate animal attack death of elderly Beaufort County woman

BEAUFORT COUNTY, NC (WITN) - County leaders still want answers in the death of an Eastern Carolina woman killed by an unknown animal.
 
The Beaufort County Commissioners created a committee to lead the investigation into what kind of canine killed Brenda Hamilton in February.
 
Researchers from as far away as California and Oregon are being considered to look at the evidence and commissioner Hood Richardson hopes the committee will get answers.
 
"There is a concern in the community that because this attack was from unknown sources, that it could happen again," said Richardson who will lead the new committee.
 
Brenda Hamilton, a 77-year-old school teacher at Pungo Christian Academy, was attacked during a walk near Pantego. The Sheriff's Office wasn't able to determine what kind of animal killed her other than that it was a canine.
 
"Canine, in the world of DNA, covers everything from a Chihuahua to a grey wolf," said Richardson.
 
The three-person committee consists of Richardson, Frankie Waters, and board chair Jerry Evans and will oversee the time-sensitive investigation.
 
"We got to have a way to make this thing move fast because the DNA evidence could completely deteriorate at the rate we're moving now before we're able to use it," said Richardson.
 
$3,500 is budgeted for the investigation but Richardson expects more money may be appropriated. He also says experts will be brought in and consulted with about how to proceed before a group is chosen to examine the evidence.
 
Richardson admits there is a possibility that it may be impossible to determine what kind of animal killed Brenda Hamilton but he says it's worth a try.
 
"As a matter of public safety and in her interest as a citizen of the county, we need to bring this mystery to some kind of a conclusion," said Richardson.
 
Richardson says there are hair and fibers from the scene that have not been tested yet. He says that will be one of the committee's first tasks. The committee is expected to meet soon to discuss the next steps.