A man has been arrested over the theft and subsequent death of a beloved 35-year-old gelding in California.
The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office in California started its investigation on January 30, following the disappearance of Trumpet from the stables of High Heart Ranch.
The horse’s body was discovered the same day in nearby Jay Hawk Cemetery. He was partially impaled on a decorative iron fence inside the gated cemetery.
Trumpet had been removed from his stall between 2am and 5am the same day. There was no evidence of damage to latches in or out of the property.
Trumpet’s blanket was found near his body, with no sign of tears or damaged buckles.
Inquiries have led to the arrest of 56-year-old Bryon Baker, described in a sheriff’s office press release as a transient.
Deputies allege Trumpet died from injuries sustained while under the control of Baker.
The local horse-owning community rallied following Trumpet’s death, with a $US5000 reward posted for information in the case.
Flyers were posted around the district in an effort make progress in the investigation.
The sheriff’s office said the posting of the flyers and the tips they produced contributed to the efforts of investigators in making an arrest.
On May 16, deputies started a separate investigation after reports of an attempted horse theft and sexual assault on a horse.
Multiple witnesses to the second case were later able to help in identifying the suspect as Baker.
During the second inquiry the investigators were able to link both cases.
The investigations continued until July 3, when investigators searched Baker’s motor home near the El Dorado hills.
During the search, items were seized as evidence in connection with both cases.
Baker was arrested the same day for grand theft of a horse, cruelty to animals causing suffering and or death, attempted theft of a second horse, and sexual assault on the second horse.
Sheriff John D’Agostini said he wanted to thank those who showed their support for High Heart Ranch and for the tips they provided in connection to both cases.