$10,000 reward offered in sea turtle's death
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NORTH TOPSAIL BEACH, NC (WWAY) -- Wildlife investigators say someone tortured and killed a rare sea turtle. Now they're offering a $10,000 reward to anyone with information.

The Kemp's Ridley sea turtle was found washed up on North Topsail Beach, dead, with his flippers tied together. The turtle has become a federal investigation by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA.

Investigators won't let us show you pictures of the dead turtle because they are being used as evidence, but a necropsy, which is an autopsy for animals, shows the turtle's death was not an accident.

"It didn't die a natural death," said Karen Sota, a volunteer at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center. "It had obviously been tortured and brutalized by somebody with absolutely no respect for life or a conscience. It was a very unpleasant ending for this innocent and defenseless little creature that was just out in the ocean making its way in life."

Sea turtles are protected under the Endangered Species Act. Kemp's Ridleys are the rarest and most endangered of all sea turtles.

The maximum penalties for the unlawful taking of a sea turtle are one year in prison and a $100,000 fine. Anyone with information can leave an anonymous tip with the National Marine Fisheries Service at (800) 853-1964.

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Are you people serious? I just read these comments and sat here shaking my head. There are many horrific things that happen in our world, but you're comparing apples and oranges.
It took a really big and strong man to torture and kill a sea turtle... Probably a frustrated and angry commercial fisherman "making a statement." The issues regarding fishing and gill nets do not justify the torture of an endangered creature. Uneducated barbaric coward.

I think what happened is awful, but who are you to even assume it is a commercial fisherman? That's a pretty sorry statement.

You know what they should do if they find the person who did this?Tie them up and drag them in the ocean, hurt and torture them the same way this defenseless sea turtle died. There is no excuse for this!!

This is horrific - To "I am outraged," I am very sorry for your loss and can see that this would be disheartening to you. However, one comment disturbed me a bit:

"Nothing is right about how the turtle died, but someone was angry."

Anger is not a justification for violence against humans or animals. This is actually very frightening - someone is clearly disturbed and deranged and these violent actions rarely stop with animals. This is typical behavior of people who are or will become serial killers so finding the person/people responsible could very well save a human life someday.

Killing an endangered species is a federal offense, that is why the reward for information is so high and the penalties are stiff. That is why government agencies have gotten involved.

I am sorry that more was not done to find information in the death of your grand-daughters' mother. Perhaps, writing letters or contacting some local agencies can help get the word out there more so justice can be done and your family can find some closure.

I agree that anger is not an excuse to torture an innocent animal. I was not trying to justify the killing, only to say, there are angry fisherman out there, not that they are all bad...but some would say they have a reason to be angry....it is a disturbing behavior,( killing and torturing) and those that chose to try to send a message this way should have to pay the consequences.There is a real flaw in those who must kill like this, don't care what it is. I never met to imply they had a good reason to torture and kill the turtle. Thanks for pointing this out.

You know it's sad when we live in a country where there is a reward for killing a turtle (which was malicious and should be punishable), but yet so many babies are aborted every single day. This country has its priorites all messed up. Save the trees! Save the turtles! Save the environment! Kill the unwanted babies. Yep. That's our reality.

Trees, the environment and animals can NOT help themselves, that IS our job seems us humans have taken over and are destroying them.

HUMANS decide whether or not to abort fetuses after their own irresponsibility got them in the situation. Amazing how anti-abortion people can take a completely unrelated subject and spin it.

I am so sorry for your loss & feel your grief. I can see how this might outrage you - and you are right about one thing, maybe if we applied a little more of this kind of support to humans, we'd have less deranged folks walking around & harming other humans.

I can't believe that you would even offer such a huge reward for clues in the death of a sea turle!!!! This is the most ludicris thing I have ever heard of. The mother of my precious granddaughters was murdered this past December 26th and to even get $5,000.00 reward offered in clues in her death, it had to go through the Govenor's office, etc. We can't get any help from anyone with clues, good luck on getting clues on the dead turtle. I see where priorities are now, and beleive me, I do not condone the cruelty of killing the turtle; but get your priorities straight here. How about donating that stupid turtle bounty to a community issue to help humans???? If there was more attention paid to humans and their needs; and you quit regulating them out of their livelihoods on the water, you might would see less anger shown. Nothing is right about how the turtle died, but someone was angry. Try walking in their shoes. Obviously people sometimes have more money than common sense. And how about some of your money go to help the cruelty that was demonstrated in the death of my granddaughters mother....oh I forgot...she was a human.

The five thousand dollars that is being put up by the sea turtle hospital is private money from private donors. This money is given willingly by people who believe in the conservation and protection of sea turtles, as well as public education about the plight of sea turtles and what humans have done to put them in the position that they are in. The work being done in NC for the rehab and protection of sea turtles could not be done without the generosity of donors and the countless hours put in by volunteers. This money is turtle money.
Perhaps you could start a non-profit foundation to raise money for the search for the killer of your granddaughters' mother.

In my experience, animals generally are far better behaved than most humans...and get more of my respect. Do tell though...what is it that made someone so angry that they tortured a turtle to death? Honestly...I don't care if you are dying of cancer, just lost your home and have crabs...you don't torture an animal to death no matter how angry you are about ANYTHING! Plus...it's the wildlife organization that is offering the money. When your relative or whoever died...did YOU offer any money as a reward? People have other people to offer rewards...animals do NOT!

What was the name of your granddaughter's mother? Perhaps, putting the information on here can help bring the case back into the public eye.

It was Tiffany Dawkins. She was my granddaughters' Mom. Her body was found in Rocky Point lying on the side of the road. There are claims there is no evidence to catch anyone. Someone out there knows something. I wish they could see those two little girls making things to put on her grave for Mother's Day. She loved them so much. As far as the turtles, placing so many regulations on the fisherman, are putting them out of jobs, they have bills and families, now, that need help. It seems that people are losing site of the real stewards of our resources. I see a lot of misplaced priorities. It is hard to believe we have so many murders here that are unsolved....give that $10,000 turtle reward to our law enforcement folks, they need it to be able to obtain the resources to solve these crimes,not put a bounty on someone you will never catch killing a turtle. Don't care if the money is private donations or if they won it in the lottery, use it for something that really matters. Thanks for asking who Tiffany was. Tiffany has a Mom, sisters and a family that loved her too.

Humans are "supposed" to be smart enough to help themselves. Sea Turtles? They've been subjected to our supposed "free will" and are disappearing rapidly.
Perhaps in our admission that we do not pay enough attention to the world around us and stepping up to right a wrong on a grander scale we can benefit from the trickle down effect of such efforts.
The rightful owners of this world, those that have been living here long before us, deserve some priority. Humans are like roaches and will continue to multiply in the worst of conditions, contributing NOTHING to the true beauty of this earth. Wildlife should ALWAYS come first.

As anyone who reads my posts know, I have ZERO tolerance for animal abuse. I personally think a fitting punishment for this crime...tie the culprits hands and feet together, slather him with chum, and dump his/her a** in some shark infested waters. Disgusting how someone could hurt a defenseless animal like this.

Please if someone knows who has done this---please call the number and report them. This is a terrible thing to kill an innocent creature! Dont let another animal fall victim to this! And I am sure $10,000 will come in handy for you! PLEASE!!! Do the right thing!!!

finding this person is important, not just to punish them but to get them the help they so desperately need - BEFORE they hurt another defenseless animal or worse yet, a child.

I wonder if this would happen to be the same person who brutalized all those pelicans last year, seems too close together and too much alike. Sick, sad person.

Some people are just pathetic. It takes a really big person to torture a helpless animal. I would love to have five minutes in a room with a person who harms the elderly, children, or animals, once I'm done with them I'm pretty sure they wouldn't do it again.

...but I will say this; that is one characteristic of a serial killer in the making. Look it up.

Yep you are right. Torturing animals is definately a sign of much deeper and bigger problems. See also: Jeffery Dahmer and Henry Lee Lucas.

Sick little idiots with nothing better to do. I hope if anyone knows who did this they will turn them in. There is something inherently wrong with a person who tortures animals and it makes them a danger to humans as well.

Violence against animals has been documented to be a warning sign of potential violence against humans.

See the article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoosadism

It is stated there that "Studies have shown that individuals who enjoy or are willing to inflict harm on animals are more likely to do so to humans. One of the known warning signs of certain psychopathologies, including antisocial personality disorder, is a history of torturing pets and small animals.

According to the New York Times:

'the FBI has found that a history of cruelty to animals is one of the traits that regularly appears in its computer records of serial rapists and murderers, and the standard diagnostic and treatment manual for psychiatric and emotional disorders lists cruelty to animals as a diagnostic criterion for conduct disorders.'"