PORT HURON (WWJ) - Suicide by dog attack. That's what authorities say was the cause of death for a 22-year-old Port Huron woman who climbed a fence and was mauled by a pit bull and a pit bull mix last week.
Police initially said it was unclear why Rebecca Hardy entered the yard, in the 1700-block of 10th Street, where the dogs were contained. Her fiancée lives on the same street, about a block away.
Hardy suffered extensive injuries to her face and neck and later died at Beaumont Hospital.
Following an investigation, the Oakland County Medical Examiner ruled Hardy's death was a suicide.
Ljubisa Dragovic said his determination is based on the fact that Hardy deliberately jumped into the backyard — despite it containing the two "attack dogs."
Dragovic said an investigation revealed that Hardy knew her neighbor's dogs we dangerous and, in the past, had gone to great lengths to avoid them.
"She did climb the fence over and enter that space," Dragovic said. "She did not get through a gate or through the front door of the house — and that clearly is a purposeful act. It's akin to someone jumping into a cage with tigers or lions at a zoo."
Investigators said Hardy had been kicked out of her home the day she was mauled to death.
Dragovic said there were also scars indicating a previous suicide attempt.
"We made a determination (as to) the manner of death," he explained. "The cause of death is obviously established by the examination of the body, but the manner of death takes into consideration the physical circumstances that prevail and surround a particular deadly injury."
Hardy left behind an 18-month-old daughter.
The dogs involved, along with a puppy, were reportedly euthanized.
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