LIHUE (KHNL) - Early one July morning, Andrea Ellsworth, of Kauai, learned one of her prized horses had been shot to death. Another was badly injured in the shooting.
Now she and her husband are asking for the public's help to find the person responsible. They hope whoever did it comes forward, even if it was an accident.
Ellsworth's love for horses started at a very young age.
"Ever since I could say the word horse, I was just horse crazy," she said. "When a baby's born, it's impressionable, you get to put your hands on it for the first time and then you raise it to riding age and whether we sell it, or keep it, something new goes on with it. It's just a remarkably rewarding experience."
She's had many of these rewarding experiences, and last month's shooting was her worst nightmare. She told us how her husband, Ben, found the animal.
"As he walked up, he saw the horse was dead," she said. "There was blood coming out from underneath him, so that's when he called me."
Ellsworth was on her way to work at the time. "I pulled off to the side of the road, heard what he had to say, just in shock," she said.
Ben had arrived at their pasture to feed the horses, named Earl and Buddy, that morning. While Earl lay dead on his side, 5-year-old Buddy had suffered a gunshot wound to his face, which barely missed an artery. He survived the attack.
"You always think something like that could happen, but just not to you," Ellsworth said. "I don't know anyone who hates us enough to do that to us personally. I'd like to think there isn't anyone."
Ellsworth says whoever did it might have had to come through a gate which is always locked. Her pasture can't be seen from any main roads or highways, so she feels the person responsible may be very familiar with the area.
All that's left of Earl are the many memories and a makeshift grave.
"I want to offer forgiveness for what happened," Ellsworth said. "I want to know if it was an accident. We have no ill feeling. We just want to know."
So far, Kauai police have no major leads, just lots of unanswered questions.
The Kauai Humane Society is offering a $10,000 reward for tips that lead to the arrest and conviction of the shooter.