UPDATE: Former Army Pvt. Who Killed Own Therapy Dog Found Dead Of Suspected SuicideMatthew Russell
The army veteran who killed her therapy dog as her boyfriend filmed the incident and posted it to social media has been found dead, possibly by a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Marinna Rollins, 23, was under investigation for animal cruelty charges stemming from the killing of her service dog, Camboui, on April 16. She had Camboui certified as a therapy dog to assist with her post-traumatic stress disorder earlier this year, but in mid-April, she posted a cryptic message to Facebook, indicating the dog was going to be euthanized.
What came next is nothing short of a nightmare.
Rollins and her boyfriend, Jarren Heng, an active-duty service member, can be seen laughing and drinking beer in the videos they made as they shot Camboui in the head repeatedly with a rifle. An anonymous tip led North Carolina animal control and police to Rollins’s address, where they arrested her on April 20. Heng turned himself in four days later.
According to CBS News, both Rollins and Heng were facing felony animal cruelty charges with substantially higher bail limits than usual. Rollins’s bail was increased from $10,000 to $25,000, and Heng’s from $5,000 to $25,000, because of “aggravating factors and the cruel nature of the case,” the judge commented.
On May 7, police were once again called to Rollins’s address, alerted by the veteran’s friends, who found her dead body at 3 a.m.
According to Fayetteville Police Department Lt. Todd Joyce, Rollins’s death is being investigated as a suicide. The Fayetteville Observer reports that Heng’s next scheduled court date is May 16.
Since the gruesome incident that prompted this story, Rollins’s estranged husband, Matt Dyer, has come forth with more information about their dog, who was originally named Huey.
The original post, detailing Rollins’s and Heng’s animal cruelty charges, can be found below.
Marinna Rollins, 23, originally from Maine, had been supported by Camboui after her ex-husband, who originally adopted the dog, was deployed to Korea. The gray-and-white male pit bull had helped her deal with PTSD after leaving the military in January and moving to North Carolina, according to the Associated Press. But after posting a dour message to Facebook indicating Camboui was about to be put down, her story quickly darkened.
Under a picture of Camboui, Rollins left a plea for mercy on the social media site, as she was “sad that her dog had to go to a happier place.”
According to the North Carolina Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office report, Rollins—along with her boyfriend, 25-year-old Jarren Heng, an active duty serviceman—brought Camboui to a tree in a wooded area near her Fayetteville home on April 16, took aim with a rifle, and shot him in the head. Heng filmed the first shot, then the couple switched, and Rollins filmed the second. They continued, shooting Camboui in the head five times.
They recorded the entire ordeal, laughing as they tortured the dog, Cumberland County District Attorney Clark Reaves asserts. Then they posted the video to Facebook.
After following up on a call reporting possible animal cruelty and speaking with Rollins about the video of Camboui’s gruesome death, Fayetteville Animal Control notified the sheriff’s office on April 19. According to NBC affiliate WCSH6, Rollins offered nothing but excuses as to why Camboui was killed. Heng turned himself in on April 24, and Rollins was arrested the following day.
For many, service dogs represent a guiding light through life’s darkest times. The hope and support they bring to their handlers, whether they suffer from physical or mental disabilities, is nothing short of a miracle.
Military veterans, especially, have benefitted from the support of service dogs as they face the nearly insurmountable challenge of returning to civilian life with PTSD, traumatic brain injury, or physical disabilities.
Service dogs are essential to those who need them, and former Pvt. Rollins and Heng, who reports to the Army Special Operations Command, now face felony animal cruelty charges for the murder of one.
Rollins can be seen in the video below in 2014, before leaving the military, sending well wishes back home to Maine from Camp Casey, Korea.
A number of efforts are underway to prevent incidents like this from reoccurring, not the least of which is a petition to keep those with malicious intent away from our furry friends. Click the button below to sign our petition and keep animals out of the hands of those who abuse them!