Sheriff-patrolAuthorities in western Iowa’s Guthrie County are investigating the death and butchering of a cow, the remains of which were left in a ditch.

Deputies were investigating a rural farm site burglary in southern Guthrie County Christmas Day and while checking neighboring farms north of Menlo, they came across blood on the snowy roadway and noticed raw cow flesh and hide in the ditch next to a cattle corral.

A gate to the corral was ajar. After walking into the adjoining pasture, deputies discovered a cow had been butchered behind the corral.

A person or persons had killed the cow and gutted it. The cow’s head had been removed and the cow had been cut into two pieces dividing the front and rear quarters of the animal. The rear quarters of the animal were missing. The loss was estimated at about $2,000.

Authorities say the act was committed by a human and executed very precisely. Those involved in the crime could face possible misdemeanor charges of trespassing and livestock abuse, as well as felony theft and felony criminal mischief charges.

(Reporting by Ric Hanson, KJAN, Atlantic)