NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas – The Comal County Sheriff's Office has confirmed that five dogs were in the backyard of a home at Canyon Lake where a New Braunfels second-grader was mauled to death Saturday evening.
"Shortly after first responders arrived, Air Life was called. The boy was found with severe lacerations all over his body," said Jennifer Smith, spokeswoman for the Comal County Sheriff's Office.
Smith said the child, identified as Gaege Anthony Ramirez, 7, was airlifted to University Hospital in San Antonio where he later died from his injuries.
She said the incident is under investigation by sheriff's detectives and Animal Control officers, so it remains unclear whether any charges will be filed.
Smith said although the dogs were unspecified breeds, none of them were pit bulls.
Amber Hardcastle, the child's mother, said they had just arrived at the house to visit friends when Gaege went into the backyard.
"We got there and he went outside and I went to check on him, and I found him," Hardcastle said, her voice choked with emotion. "I was going to tell him to come inside and watch TV."
She said it happened so quickly, no one inside the house heard or saw anything.
Referring to the dogs, Hardcastle said, "Whether or not they're yours or a friends, you never know what's going to happen."
Gaege's mother said the dogs' owner and his family had been playing with the dogs most of the day before they arrived.
"I need peace for him and his family because this was a tragic accident," Hardcastle said.
She said the dogs' owner never would have put her son at risk.
Hardcastle said Gaege was "a beautiful and sweet, charming and well-mannered young man."
His mother also says he was brilliant, destined for greatness. She said he was on the honor roll and in gifted and talented classes at Freiheit Elementary School in New Braunfels.
Still, Gaege was a little boy at heart.
"He loved to cuddle on the couch and make goofy faces with me," she said.
Hardcastle said she plans to bury Gaege in Ingleside, Texas, where they are from originally.
She said her hope now is, "I don't want anyone else to have to live out my nightmare."