Nationally known watercolorist, Elsie Grace, was apparently mauled to death by her two Pit Bulls in her motel room in Hemet, California, on Friday morning, according to Hemet police.
“It is believed the victim was mauled and killed by both dogs based upon her injuries," the statement said, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Officers and paramedics arrived at about noon on February 8 and found the 91-year-old woman dead with her two Pit Bulls in her room at a Motel 6 in the 3900 block of Florida Avenue, according to police. “The victim had a great deal of trauma to her body,” said Lt. Duane Wisehart.
Elsie Grace taught art classes at Copper Mountain College in Joshua Tree, California, for 33 years. After her retirement in 2005, she was commissioned by La Quinta Hotels and painted 230 watercolor views of the hotel’s casitas.
She and her son were staying at the motel while relocating and looking for a new residence in Hemet, according to reports. Ms. Grace most recently lived in Desert Hot Springs.
Her son was gone at the time of the attack, CBS Local News reported.
An autopsy on Ms. Grace is pending. Lt. Wisehart said, “(At) this time, it appears to be a horrific accident.”
The two Pit Bulls were seized by animal control officials and taken to Ramona Humane Society. The dogs are expected to remain in the shelter until police finish their investigation and decide whether they will be euthanized or not, said Jeff Shepard, CEO of the shelter, according to the Desert Sun.
Ms. Grace was a member of the La Quinta Arts Association and exhibited her work at the La Quinta Arts Foundation’s Art under the Umbrellas event.
“I am shocked. She was a wonderful person and inspirational to many students. It is a tragic end that saddens me greatly,” Copper Mountain College art teacher Cathy Allen told the Desert Sun.