There is an interesting case developing in California over an alleged serial killer that has prowled around a neighborhood for years. The alleged culprit is Jaxson, a female eight-foot alligator believed to be 40 years old, that was kept illegally by a Van Nuys family without a permit. The “Anatomy of a Murder” aspect of the case comes in with the findings of the police in the hidden box of Jaxson — two dead cats. The police are asking neighbors to report other missing cats. I am sure it was unintentional but one article reported the suspicion about missing cats before adding “[t]he house is a family residence with multiple occupants, but no children were found there.” I do not think Jaxson is to blame.
The city attorney is considering prosecution of Laura Mattson, who admitted to keeping the animal. Notably, after accounts of a roaming alligator, authorities visited the home but did not find the gator. That raises the possibility of a charge of lying to inspectors and hiding the animal.
Officials are asking anyone whose small pet may have disappeared over the past 40 years to contact the city’s animal services department at (213) 482-7455. That is what struck me as particularly interesting. Exactly how would evidence be used that Mrs. Smith lost a cat 40 years ago. Can that be attributed to Jaxson? The two dead cats in his box would appear pretty good evidence of felinicide like a gator version of John Wayne Gacy. (Though the defense could claim a frame up job by clever cats in the neighborhood). I can understand the allegation of a cat diet because on the corpus delicti found at the scene, but the list of “disappeared” cats would seem a tad circumstantial.
Another interesting question is possible animal abuse charges. Mattson eluded to such a charge when she insisted that she had several neutered feral cats at her home but would never feed them to the alligator. In another story, she showed pictures of kittens playing with Jaxson. The question is what Jaxson ate.
Mattson says that she was trying to find a home for Jaxson and had called a zoo.
Officers also found a large tortoise in the home.
It would seem likely that charges will follow, particularly due to the earlier visit to the home and the account of the police that the box was hard to find.