PHOENIX (KSAZ) - There is a disturbing case of animal abuse involving a suspect who police say bragged about killing a family's beloved pet. It was that boasting that eventually led to his arrest.
The family is absolutely devastated that their dog Lucky was kidnapped and brutally murdered, but that it was done by the hand of a friend.
"We were all just shocked when we found out," said Chelsea Bailey.
Chelsea described the moment that she and her family learned that their missing chihuahua Lucky had been found dead. According to homicide detectives, 19-year-old Lance Barkhurst admitted to torturing and murdering the animal before disposing of it in a dumpster.
"Told us that Lance admitted to his friend that he was a serial killer like Dexter, and showed pictures of our dog to prove it to this person, and they turned him in," said Chelsea.
The family says Barkhurst was staying with them back in September when the dog suddenly disappeared while sleeping next to their 3-year-old son.
"He never gave any type of hint that he was mean like that, he was really good with Rayden," she said.
In the weeks that followed, Chelsea and her family searched the neighborhood, handing out fliers, hoping someone would help bring Lucky home.
But after weeks of searching, they received the devastating news. Barkhurst now remains behind bars, charged with one felony count of animal cruelty. The family's attorney believes jail is the best place for him.
"That's very scary about this person, because what is he going to do next, because he took a dog that was sleeping next to a very small child, he could have easily done this to a child and kidnapped that child, but instead, he took the dog," said John Schill.
Barkhurst is due back in court next month; he could face up to a year in prison or probation.
The family has created an online petition called "Justice for Lucky" where they want the Maricopa County Attorney's Office to prosecute Barkhurst to the fullest extent of the law.