UNION MILLS | Two boys, ages 17 and 14, were arrested early Thursday after confessing to fatally shooting three cows grazing in fields Wednesday night, police said.
The boys are being charged as juveniles with three counts of animal cruelty and three counts of criminal recklessness, all Class D felonies.
About 10 p.m. Wednesday, dairy farmer Glen Minich told police he heard four to five gunshots at his dairy farm. He and his wife went out to investigate.
They found one of their cows dead in a pasture about 50 feet off County Road 425 West and two other cows dead on another stretch of his property off County Road 500 South.
At least two of the cows were shot in the head, police said.
According to police, Minich began following a dark-colored Jeep with South Central School stickers on it, and soon the SUV pulled over. The 17-year-old boy from LaPorte denied shooting any cows. He was later found by police in LaPorte outside a convenience store on J Street. Police said officers took him and a male friend from Union Mills into the sheriff's office for questioning.
No arrests were immediately made. Police received a text message from the father of one of the boys saying his son admitted firing a gun but said nothing about shooting animals. The man further explained his son was out coyote hunting, police said.
Eventually, the boys admitted to their roles and it's believed each of them took turns in the killings with a high-powered rifle, said LaPorte County police Detective Andy Hynek.
"One was more honest than the other. Ultimately, they confessed to being responsible," Hynek said.
Minich said he has about 100 head of cattle on his dairy farm and the cows killed were Holsteins worth $1,200 to $1,500 each.
"I hope justice can come out of this and somebody can learn a lesson," Minich said.