Kenneth Clodo Santillan (pictured with his dad), 13, was attacked and mauled to death last Friday by a bullmastif while walking in Paterson, N.J., with a friend. The unidentified friend was also attacked, as was the dog’s owner, Paul Clarke (pictured with Trigger), according to The Record.
Police records state that Santillan and his friend were walking along a street at about 4:30 p.m. when the 115-pound dog, whose name was Trigger, lunged at them. As to what provoked the animal, the details, per investigators, remain sketchy.
The canine initially bit the unidentified child on his hand, yet he was able to get away. Santillan, however, was not so lucky; Trigger chased after him and at 11 p.m., hours later after the initial attack, his lifeless body was found behind Clarke’s home.
The child who had accompanied Santillan was spotted running down a block bleeding from his hand. Carmen Baez, who was outside of her home when the unnamed child approached her, was told by the boy that he had been attacked by a dog. Baez ran into her house to get bandages and paper towels for the youth in order to control the bleeding. According to Baez, the fidgety child wrapped his hand, then quickly left the premises. The woman offered to call 911 but the child asked her not to do so. He also did not reveal his name.
Maria Zacheus, who lives near where Santillan’s body was discovered, told The Record that at around 9 p.m., she heard what seemed to be a search party taking place behind her apartment building. Zacheus heard a man crying unceasingly and yelling repeatedly, “My son! My son! My son!” The woman used her smartphone to record several video clips of the search.
Clarke, who had owned the dog, was forced to stab his canine repeatedly in order to get away from it because the animal had then turned on him on the same day as the Santillan attack.
According to neighbors, the dog was friendly at first but then his temperament changed for the worse after kids on the block taunted him. Other residents told the paper that many feared the aggressive dog that often barked and growled as strangers walked by his fenced area. One neighbor said Trigger had actually escaped his fenced area twice in the past by jumping over it because he was a big dog.
Zacheus said Trigger had tried to attack her and her 6-year-old grandson in the past, stating, “Monday through Friday, I walk through here to go pick him up from school. I always see the dog. He starts barking. He’s very aggressive.” The grandmother admitted that she had to cross the street in order to avoid any close contact with the dog.
Trigger was “humanely euthanized” by police and his remains are being tested for rabies.
Santillan’s friend and Clarke were treated at a nearby hospital and released.
Investigators are still delving into the Santillan case. An autopsy will be conducted on the teen in order to find out the exact cause of death.
Thus far, no charges have been filed against Clarke. Police are asking anyone with information about the Santillan case to contact 973-321-1120.