GOOCHLAND, Va. (CNN) — Bethany Stevens’ father went looking for her Thursday night. When he found his daughter, investigators said the 22-year-old’s two pit bulls Tonka and Pac-Man were standing guard over her body.

Police say Stevens was found dead in the woods after being mauled to death by the dogs.

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“It was an absolutely grisly mauling,” sheriff Jim Agnew said. “In my 40 years of law enforcement, I’ve never seen anything like it. I hope I never see anything like it again.”

Agnew said Stevens was a petite 5-foot-1, no match for her burly 100-125 pound dogs. According to the medical examiner, Stevens was still alive when the animals attacked.

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“The victim had defensive marks on her hands and arms, trying to keep the dogs away from her, which would be consistent with being attacked while she was still alive,” Agnew said.

However, Barbara Norris, a friend of Stevens, doesn’t believe the two dogs would do anything to hurt her. She said Stevens babied the dogs that she had raised since they were puppies.

“Those dogs and her, they loved each other,” Norris said. “I wasn’t able to see the body so I can’t tell you what happened. I can’t tell you if it was blunt force or it is was a mauling, but I know those dogs didn’t do it.”

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