When Angel Clark first saw the eerily clean bodily organ that her husband found lying in their front yard, she says it was “a shock.”
They get a lot of walkers and joggers in their neighborhood near Olympia High School, Clark said. On Wednesday, Clark’s sister-in-law noticed one jogger doing a double-take and peering down at something on the ground near the mailbox. She asked Clark’s husband to take a look, and he soon called Clark.
Clark has experience with animals, she says: She once worked as an assistant to a veterinarian, and is now Assistant Manager at a boarding facility for dogs on a farm. Upon hearing about the discovery of what looked like an animal organ in their yard, Clark thought she might dissect the thing herself.
But once she saw it, something didn’t sit right.
“I was absolutely disgusted,” Clark told The Olympian. “When I saw it, the reality of what I was looking at instantly let me know that this was something important.”
It’s been raining a lot and their house is adjacent to a protected wetland, she said, but still: The organ looked untouched and intact. Other than tufts of white fur about 10 to 15 feet away, Clark says, there wasn’t any blood or other evidence of an animal nearby.
“I don’t know much about forensics, but this is really fishy,” she said. Especially as she considered the history of suspicious cat deaths in the area.
She emailed the Olympia Police Department initially. But it bothered her so much, she said, she ended up calling in.
Olympia Police Lt. Paul Lower told The Olympian that in cases like this — if you see something suspicious — calling county dispatch via 911 or the non-emergency line is what the department advises, as the department’s social media and email aren’t monitored as closely.
The organ has since been passed to the Olympia Police Department, then to the Thurston County Coroner’s Office, where a pathologist determined it was the stomach of a small animal.
It’s “definitely non-human,” Coroner Gary Warnock told The Olympian. Inside the stomach were fragments of “unidentifiable food byproducts” and what could be a hairball. But Warnock said his office wasn’t sure what species of small animal the stomach belonged to.
At this point, Lt. Lower said police will likely take the stomach back to the department, put it in evidence, and contact Joint Animal Services to ask about next steps. Clark said she filed a basic report with Joint Animal Services already, and she hopes for a resolution.
“I have a cat and two dogs myself, and I want to be able to let them go outside and enjoy their property and not worry about them not coming home,” she said.