WATCH: Close encounter with escaped zebra caught on camera

Police open investigation, both zebras have died following escape

By Fares Sabawi - Digital Producer, Jessie Degollado - Reporter, Luis Cienfuegos - Photojournalist

NEW BRAUNFELS - The death of two zebras that escaped their pens in New Braunfels has sparked a police investigation into the incident.

Authorities were called about at about 4:45 p.m. Wednesday about the two zebras that broke loose and an hourslong chase through the city followed.

The animals were recently sold to a private property owner off Highway 46 South, police said. Authorities have not identified the owner, or who they recently purchased the zebras from, as of Thursday afternoon. It isn’t clear how the zebras died.

Both broke free from the property and swam across the Guadalupe River. One remained in the area, while the other roamed across the city, making its way across the town, Interstate 35 and through busy streets.

READ MORE: Watch captured zebra's ride on helicopter

New Braunfels police, along with the zebras’ previous owners in a helicopter, led the effort to bring the animals back to the right property.

Authorities pursued the zebra to a housing community on the west side of New Braunfels, where Carolina Kuhn lives and works as an operations manager.

“When I saw it, it looked scared,” Kuhn said.

The zebra darted right by Kuhn’s car and she captured the moment on dashcam video.

“I was expecting to find it on the ground laying down … but it kept running,” she said.

Kuhn and her daughter named the zebra Marty, named after the “Madagascar” character.

The zebra was eventually tranquilized and airlifted back to the property by the zebras’ previous owners.

"In the hours since the incident was resolved, NBPD was saddened to hear that the zebra had died sometime after it was returned to its owners," police wrote in a news release.

The second zebra returned to the property on its own, but escaped the pen again on Thursday morning, police said.

The second zebra was then found dead by police outside a fenced area on the property. Officers are investigating the case to make sure no crime was committed in the handling of the animals.

“We now have two deceased animals, so you never want to see that,” said David Ferguson, spokesperson for the New Braunfels Police Department. “We’re making sure that if there is a criminal offense that we look into that, but that’s still to be determined.”

Copyright 2019 by KSAT - All rights reserved.