Two men were arrested in connection with the alleged theft of Jaggar, an English bulldog that was reported missing from a Woodland woman’s home in early October and found dead later in the month, officials said.
Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested Jesse James Clark, 38, of Kelso and Johnny Lee Jordan, 39, of Longview on Wednesday.
According to a Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office release, Clark was arrested on suspicion of possession of stolen property and giving false and misleading statements to a law enforcement officer. Jordan was arrested on suspicion of possession of stolen property and extortion.
Additional arrests and additional charges for Clark and Jordan are still a possibility, the release said.
Corey Huffine, chief administrative deputy with the sheriff’s office said Clark and Jordan aren’t facing animal cruelty charges because prosecutors would have to prove in court that they are the ones that killed the dog. As of right now, investigators can’t specifically say why the dog was killed or who did it, he said.
Jaggar’s owner Jennifer Thomas first reported the dog missing on Oct. 4. Three days later, she said she received threatening text messages demanding cash and prescription pain medication for the dog’s safe return.
Corroborating evidence in the investigation began to surface when the case drew media attention, the sheriff’s office said.
On Oct. 24, the sheriff’s office received a tip from a resident who reported seeing the body of a dog lying along railroad tracks in Kelso. It appears the dog was killed, placed on the railroad tracks and hit by a passing train, the release said.
A few days later, witnesses reported seeing Jaggar at a home in Kelso where Clark lives. Deputies searched the home after obtaining a warrant but didn’t find Clark until Tuesday morning.
Based on information from Clark, deputies got a second search warrant for the Jordan residence in Longview. They found a cell phone that was used to contact dog owner Thomas on Oct. 8, the release said.
Jordan was taken into custody, but denies anything to do with the case, the sheriff’s office said.
“This is a felony theft and extortion case,” Cowlitz Sheriff Mark Nelson said in the release. “It just happened to be that the thing stolen was a dog; someone’s pet and part of her family. And while we’re happy to clear the case with these arrests, we’re all sorry that Jagger was not recovered alive.”
The investigation is ongoing.
Anyone with additional information should contact Deputy Laura Thurman or Huffine at 360-577-3092.