Remains of a 69-year-old farmer from the Coos district, Oregon, were found by a family member near the pigs' enclosure, just a few hours after he disappeared.
Terry Vance Garner had gone to feed his animals on Wednesday. Family members became alarmed when they noticed he had been gone for a few hours, and started looking for him. Much to their horror, they found a man's remains in the proximity of the pig pen. Only dentures and pieces of the man's body were recovered.
District attorney, Paul Frasier, stated that the man's body was most likely devoured by the animals. The 320kg (700lb) animals could have easily consumed his body in the short window of time, The Guardian
As no similar incidents have ever been reported in Oregon county, forensic investigators are looking into the conditions that led to the man's death. Most likely, he suffered a heart attack or fell in the pen and was attacked. Not having much to work on, pathologists are having difficulty determining the cause of death.
"For all we know, it was a horrific accident, but it's so doggone weird that we have to look at all possibilities," district attorney, Paul Frasier said, explaining that the foul play has not been ruled out yet.
One of the pigs had previously bitten Garner, but it is very unlikely that the animals attacked him when he accidentally fell to the floor in their enclosure. The time he was bitten, a sow was defending one of its young, as the farmer had accidentally stepped on a piglet.
The aggressive pig wasn't put down after the incident, the farmer's brother, 75-year-old Michael Garner of Myrtle Point, explained.
"He said he was going to kill it, but when I asked him about it later, he said he had changed his mind," he said.
John Killefer, head of the Department of Animal and Rangeland Sciences at Oregon State University stated that, even though pigs are omnivorous, it is unusual for them to attack humans and consume their meat.
"[Pigs] are more omnivorous than other farm animals, [such as] cows," Killefer explained.