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File photo by Aaron Aupperlee
In this photo taken on Dec. 27, 2007, John Peterson, left, and Jeff King stand in their yard on Second Street in Yermo. Sheriff's deputies believe their dogs were responsible in the death of Kelly Caldwell, a Yermo resident killed by dogs on Dec. 25.

Owners of Pit Bulls in Yermo mauling death arrested

This is an updated version of a story posted earlier Thursday

YERMO • The owners of Pit Bulls that mauled a Yermo woman to death on Christmas Day were arrested Wednesday afternoon.

Jeffrey Dwayne King, Jr., 23, and John Allan Peterson, 23, of Yermo were arrested in Barstow at about 5 p.m. Wednesday and booked in the Barstow Jail on suspicion of failure to control a mischievous animal, resulting in death, a felony. The charge carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison, Deputy District Attorney Sean Daugherty said.

Kelly Caldwell, 45, of Yermo, died at Barstow Community Hospital after being attacked by dogs while walking near the intersection of Second Street and Yermo Road on Dec. 25, 2007. San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department deputies shot two dogs that lunged at emergency personnel near the scene, one on the day of the incident and one the next day during the follow-up investigation. Investigators forwarded the case to the District Attorney’s Office in August after DNA test results came back confirming that blood found on the dogs belonged to Caldwell.

Witnesses said that a third dog was involved in the attack, but it was never found, Detective Gary Hart said previously.

After reviewing the case, the District Attorney’s Office issued a warrant for the arrest of King and Peterson Wednesday. The Pit Bull owners were scheduled for an arraignment Friday.

Caldwell’s parents, Carol and Cecil Tanner said the family has been waiting a long time for some sort of action to be taken against the dogs' owners.

“My daughter’s life meant something, and I’m glad there’s justice somewhere for that,” Carol said.

To report information relating to the incident, call the Barstow sheriff’s station at 760-256-4838. To remain anonymous, call WE-TIP at 1-800-78-CRIME or leave information on the WeTip Web site at www.wetip.com.

Contact the writer:
(760) 256-4123 or asewell@desertdispatch.co

Timeline:
• Dec. 25, 2007: Kelly Caldwell dies after being attacked by Pit Bulls while walking down the street in Yermo. A coroner’s report confirms that she died of bite wounds a few days later.

• Early August 2008: DNA testing results confirm that the blood found on two dogs that were shot near the scene of the mauling belonged to Caldwell. A case report is forwarded to the District Attorney’s office.

• Sept. 18, 2008: The dog’s owners, Jeffrey Dwayne King and John Allan Peterson, are arrested.


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