Skip to main content

Little boy survives monster Oklahoma tornado, only to be mauled to death

By Ben Brumfield, CNN
updated 6:12 PM EDT, Wed June 12, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • His family took him to stay with friends in Arkansas
  • They were rebuilding after the Moore, Oklahoma, twister, when he was mauled
  • The dog, a bull mastiff, belonged to his host family
  • Lynn Geiling pried her dog off of the boy, but it was too late

(CNN) -- At the tender age of five, surviving a tornado a mile wide is, at the least, traumatizing. Being separated from mom and dad after that, and living in a strange house, is enough to make a little boy break down and cry.

Through the eyes of a dog, possessive of its owner, a stranger in the house screaming at a family member can look like a threat that must be dealt with.

The two scenarios cruelly collided over the weekend when a 150-lb bull mastiff fatally mauled a 5-year-old boy, puncturing his head and neck.

Lynn Geiling had taken the little boy into her Jessieville, Arkansas, home after he and his family survived a monster tornado that in May waylaid Moore, Oklahoma. His parents had returned home, 200 miles away, to gather up the pieces of their lives.

A message is left by a homeowner who lost his home in the May 20 tornado on Monday, May 27, in Moore, Oklahoma. View more photos of the aftermath in the region and another gallery of aerial shots of the damage. A message is left by a homeowner who lost his home in the May 20 tornado on Monday, May 27, in Moore, Oklahoma. View more photos of the aftermath in the region and another gallery of aerial shots of the damage.
Deadly tornado hits Oklahoma City area
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
Photos: Deadly tornado hits Oklahoma Photos: Deadly tornado hits Oklahoma

Sunday, something upset the child and he threw a temper tantrum, the country sheriff's office said.

Geiling went over to calm him, but the screaming upset another family member -- Geiling's dog.

The dog probably thought the boy was attacking its owner, said Garland County Deputy Scott Hinojosa.

It lunged for him.

Geiling fought to unlock the dog's jaws from around the boy while calling to her husband for help, the sheriff's office said.

She pried the dog loose, but the damage was done.

The couple rushed the bleeding boy to meet an ambulance, which took him to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Authorities did not release his name.

The dog ran away but was later captured. No charges have been filed against Geiling, Hinojosa said.

"I am just really sorry that this happened in Garland County to people who have undergone such tragedy. It makes your heart bleed for them," Garland County Justice of the Peace Mary Bournival told CNN affiliate KATV.

She was close to tears. As justice of the peace, she has seen too many maulings by dogs.

She keeps a collection of gruesome photos of people with flesh torn away from their arms, legs and faces by "bully" breeds, as she calls them.

"I would say just in the last two months we've had at least seven attacks involving these dogs," she said.

Her county has some of the most relaxed laws in the state, she said. "We don't even have a simple leash law."

She wants that to change.

But that would be too little too late for the little boy and his family.

List of the May 31 storm fatalities in Oklahoma

CNN's Joe Sutton contributed to this report

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:43 AM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014
A captured fighter tells CNN's Ivan Watson: "They gave us drugs... that made you go to battle."
updated 9:31 AM EDT, Wed October 29, 2014
A terminally ill woman who plans to take her own life checks off the last item.
updated 7:40 PM EDT, Thu October 30, 2014
In a plot straight out of Hollywood, federal agents gain access to a suspected Triad boss' Vegas hotel room by pretending to fix the Internet connection.
updated 12:34 AM EDT, Fri October 31, 2014
Was it only black and Latino men who harassed a woman in NYC? The filmmaker has found himself in a race controversy.
updated 5:52 PM EDT, Fri October 31, 2014
The history of human rights often overlooks the struggles of gay people. This must change.
updated 9:15 PM EDT, Wed October 29, 2014
Armed with Kalashnikovs and chanting for the dead comrades, women are among ISIS' most feared enemies. They are fighting for their families -- and now they are getting U.S. help.
updated 8:46 AM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014
Lere Mgayiya put his best foot forward and set up a shoe-shine firm after his career plans fell flat.
updated 1:28 AM EDT, Thu October 30, 2014
One Chinese drone manufacturer wants to take away the warmongering stigma of "drones."
updated 11:12 PM EDT, Wed October 29, 2014
Sketcher Luis Simoes is traveling the world -- slowly. And he's packed his sketchbook.
updated 4:43 PM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014
European states help North Korea's brutal treatment of its people by allowing luxury goods like cars and cognacs to evade sanctions, two experts say.
updated 11:45 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Chinese leaders want less odd architecture built in the country.
updated 7:04 AM EDT, Fri October 31, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT