01 tx cow deaths MAP
CNN  — 

Six cows found dead and mutilated along a state highway in east-central Texas with their tongues “completely removed” have prompted an investigation by a county sheriff’s office, authorities said.

Ranchers in Madison County first reported a 6-year-old longhorn-cross cow lying on her side, dead and mutilated, according to a release from the Madison County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday.

The cow’s tongue was removed “with no blood spill” and a “straight, clean cut, with apparent precision” had been made to remove the hide around the cow’s mouth on one side, according to the sheriff’s office.

While looking into the longhorn-cross’ death, investigators learned of five other cows that were also found in a similarly brutal condition. Each cow was from a different pasture and herd, and was found at a different location along the area of the state highway in nearby Brazos and Robertson counties, officials said.

On two of the cows, a circular cut had also been made, removing the anus and the external genitalia. “This circular cut was made with the same precision as the cuts noted around the jaw lines of each cow,” the sheriff’s office noted.

There were no signs of struggle or blood spill, and no footprints or tire tracks in the area around any of the cows, officials said.

The sheriff’s office says it is coordinating with other law enforcement agencies for information, noting “multiple similar incidents” in the US.

The cause of death of all six cows remains unknown, the sheriff’s office said, asking anyone with information to come forward.