A race horse was found shot to death on Tuesday, one day before she was scheduled to run at Balmoral Park.
Lady May Z was found in a pasture near the corner of 245th Avenue and Colfax Street, in Lowell, Ind., officials from the Lake County (Indiana) Sheriff's Department said. The mare had been shot between the eyes, they said.
"It was deliberate, terrible," said owner Heidi Geib. "I think somebody sick was out here messing around.
Authorities said they believe the horse died between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. and believe a white, newer-model two-door pickup truck seen in the area around that time may have something to do with the crime.
"While our officers were here the vehicle was slowly driving past. It actually stopped and watched for a while. We'd like to make contact with that person and see what their interest was," said Det. Michelle Dvorscak.
The 8-year-old standard bred trotting horse, who was scheduled to run Wednesday at the track in Crete, was taken to Purdue University in West Lafayette for a necropsy. The run was planned as a test to see if she was ready to return to racing.
Geib said the crime on her normally tranquil 34-acre property has left her uneasy.
"I am afraid because I've always felt safe here and I don't right now. I don't want to let my children go out and play, and that's said," she said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Lake County Sheriff's Department at 800-750-2746.