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Teen charged in Miami's 19 serial cat killings

  • Story Highlights
  • Tyler Hayes Weinman charged with 19 counts of animal cruelty
  • Teen lived in areas where pet cats were found dead, mutilated
  • Pet owners began making gruesome discoveries May 13
  • Police say Weinman had been person of interest for several weeks
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(CNN) -- A teenager is being held on 19 counts of animal cruelty linked to a month-long killing spree of pet cats in the Miami area, police said.

Police linked the death and mutilation of Tommy the cat to a serial pet killer.

Tyler Hayes Weinman, 18, was charged with 19 counts of animal cruelty in Miami, Florida, on Monday.

Tyler Hayes Weinman, 18, also is charged with 19 counts of improper disposal of dead animals and four counts of burglary, police said.

Weinman lives in Cutler Bay and has lived with his parents in Palmetto Bay, the two towns where police said 19 cats were mutilated and killed.

Pet owners and police began discovering disfigured cats May 13. One pet owner, Donna Gleason, said her family cat, Tommy, was "partially skinned" and left dead in her yard.

Police said 34 cats have been found dead in the towns, but only 19 mutilated cats could be linked to a serial killer. Police confirmed that some of the cats were killed by dogs, said Maj. Julie Miller of Cutler Bay police.

Weinman, who works odd jobs but spends most of his time at home and unemployed, had been a person of interest for several weeks, Miller said. He was arrested Saturday. Video Watch the teen suspect's first court appearance »

The police are looking into whether any people Weinman associates with might have been accomplices in the killings. Weinman's sealed juvenile record includes two prior offenses, Miller said.

He could face a maximum of 158 years in state prison if convicted on all counts, said Terry Shavez, spokeswoman for the state attorney's office.

The mayor of Cutler Bay referred to the string of feline attacks as a "plague in South Miami-Dade."

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"The cruelty of these crimes were horrific for the animal victims, but there were many human victims as well," Mayor Paul Vrooman said.

"Let's not forget the children and the families who found their pets mutilated. These awful scenes inflicted a human toll."

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