HALLORAN SPRINGS, CA — The bodies of nearly 50 wild burros have been discovered in various states of decay along a 40 mile stretch of Interstate 15 in the Mojave Desert just south of the famous Las Vegas Strip, and 8 months later authorities are still looking for the crucial tip to crack the case.
"They are burros, they are generally pretty docile they come out in the summer out here and they'll will be burros just standing around watering trying to survive," said Mike Ahrens, field manager for the Bureau of Land Management in Needles, California.
Ahrens met 13 Investigates in Hollaran Springs, California, about an hour south of Las Vegas, which appears to be the epicenter for the killings.
The naturally-occurring spring has at least 20 burro bodies scattered nearby.
The scene is gruesome.
"All of the locations we have had, they've had pretty good vehicle access, and within a few miles of the major highway," explained Ahrens.
The bodies have been reported and documented along the 40 mile stretch of Interstate 15 from Hollaran Springs to Primm, Nevada.
The first deaths were discovered and reported in May 2019 and investigators, at first, looked at natural causes.
"Such as [Hollaran Springs,] there is a spring and sometimes springs will get botulism or diseases in the water, so we've tested for that, The spring is fine," said Ahrens.
A necropsy on the animals revealed something intentional and sinister.
Each of the 46 discovered burro bodies to date where shot in the head or neck.
"You just don't see wild burros everday," said Mayor Jim Eslinger of Nipton, California.
Eslinger also runs the general outpost store.
"That is one thing I love about out here, when I talk about having drive-bys, or talk about someone driving by, they decided to spend the night, not actually shooting anything or anyone," added Eslinger.
Eslinger has a the reward sign which advertises the $100,000 bounty for information leading to an arrest in the wild burro killing case.
"I hope they're caught," said Eslinger.
The wild burros are federally protected and whoever is found guilty in the case could face up to 46 years, 1 year for each death, in prison.
As 13 Investigates reported in October, the reward ballooned to $100,000 after animal conservation groups and Federal authorities pooled the cash together.
Anyone with information about the shootings is asked to call (800) 782-7463 or visit http://www.wetip.com. Callers may remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward for information leading to the arrest(s) and conviction(s) of any person(s) responsible for the deaths of these federally protected animals.