Bob Brown came home on Monday, November 11, to find that his firefighter wife, Dawn (pictured), 44, had been viciously killed by the Mastiff they adopted from a family member just a week earlier, the Daily Mail reports.
Dawn Brown’s body was found at the bottom of the basement stairs in their home in the 400 block of Jefferson Street in Big Rock, Illinois, shortly after 4:00 p.m., with dog-bite wounds on her neck, according to Kane County Sheriff’s Lt. Pat Gengler.
An autopsy found that Brown died from dog bites to her neck from a 140-pound mastiff, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Brown's husband is also a volunteer firefighter with the Big Rock Fire Protection District and a full time firefighter paramedic with the Bristol Kendall Fire Protection District in Yorkville, the Chicago Tribune reports, and he immediately attempted to resuscitate his wife.
His frantic call to 911 resulted in the Big Rock fire department responding to the scene of the tragic death of one of its own.
Medical experts determined the attack had occurred that morning by a Mastiff inside the home. The couple also has a Boxer and a Pit Bull mix, who were determined not to have been involved in the killing.
The childless couple regarded their two older dogs as their children, Lt. Gengler said.
According to MailOnline.com, Dawn and her husband had taken the Mastiff in just a week earlier from a family member who “did not want it anymore,” The decision of the previous owners to give the dog to the Browns was not related to aggression but simply that they could not care for it anymore, according to Lt. Gengler.
“It was an extremely muscular-looking dog with a large head. Four animal control handlers were needed to contain the mastiff,” Gengler told the Chicago Tribune.
Police investigators are continuing efforts to determine what may have prompted the attack and whether the animal had previously shown any violent behavior, Mailonline reports.
We're really having a hard time getting our heads around this," Bristol Kendall Chief Michael Hitzemann told reporters. "I'm not sure we're ever going to find out what happened." He added that the Mastiff was having trouble getting along with one of the other dogs.
All three dogs were in the custody of Kane County Animal Control. Lt. Gengler stated that it would likely be decided by the victim’s husband’s whether the Mastiff should be euthanized.
Dawn Brown was described as a nurturing woman with a flair for cooking and baking. She was nicknamed 'Mother Dawn' by her co-workers.
The couple began training with the Big Rock Fire Protection District in 2003, according to Mailonline. Dawn had also worked full time with the Bristol Kendall Fire Protection District in Yorkville since 2007.
'Her friends and co-workers were the ones that were there,' Gengler said. 'It's a pretty emotionally devastating thing for them to go through.'
Big Rock Fire Cpt. Debra Raymond said to the Chicago Tribune: 'To pronounce one of your own dead is probably one of the hardest things we have to do.
'We live in a small town, so we know everyone. But when it's a member of your own team... we're like extended family.'