FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) — A family is mourning the death of their 16-year-old Yorkie Terrier after he allegedly died at the hands of their pool technician, who admitted to the crime.
A surveillance camera outside the Fresno home captures the dog alive, then within minutes you can see the suspect dump the dog’s body in a trash can near the sidewalk.
After making a confession and turning himself in to police on Thursday night, 23-year-old Aaron Cupton now faces an animal cruelty charge.
The photos Kim Garcia’s family have of their beloved dog Artie are all they have left to remember him by.
Garcia describes Artie as a loving companion who gave her and her family 16 years of memories.
“You know, I have to explain to my four-year-old son that he (Artie) isn’t here anymore, and I don’t know how I’m going to explain that to him.”
At this moment, a devastating image is etched in Kim Garcia’s mind – their family dog being dumped in a garbage can on film.
“I never thought my dog would be murdered, no,” Garcia said.
The Garcia family was on vacation in Dallas, Texas. Their dog sitter noticed Tuesday night that Artie was missing, so Garcia checked his surveillance camera.
“You know, I was excited because I was like oh, cool, the pool guy got it, oh cool, he got it, or maybe he brought it back to the business,” she said. “And then my heart sank when I realized what had really happened.”
As she continued to watch her hope turn into her worst fear.
His pool technician was home when Artie escaped from the backyard.
CCTV shows Cupton grabbing Artie, looking at Garcia’s house, and realizing no one was home.
“It took me a minute to record it but I was furious when I realized what he was doing.”
Cupton then leaves the camera’s field of vision for several minutes before he is seen heading back to his truck to retrieve a cell phone.
Shortly after, Cupton is seen walking with the dog in his arms, Artie’s body limping as he places the dog in the trash can.
“I obviously expected to lose him at some point,” Garcia said. “I thought it would be old age and a decision we would have made, but it was completely taken away from us.”
Garcia says she is disgusted by what was captured on her surveillance camera and has filed a report with the Fresno Police Department.
The investigating officer called her after Cupton made a confession.
“He wanted to tell the truth about the whole incident, he said he was forcing the dog into the dog door when the dog bit him, this anger made him strangle him and put my dog in the trash.”
She now wants justice and not in the form of an apology.
“He said he wanted to apologize by writing a letter to the family and I said we weren’t interested.”
Garcia says she thinks Cupton is “a freak and I know he’s not going to get what he deserves because I know how the law works, the repercussions are less, but clearly the person who did this is a monster.”
Cupton’s employer, Pure Water Pools, provided this statement following the incident:
“We have since suspended the employee pending the results of the Fresno Police Department’s investigation. We will continue to work with the authorities to ensure this incident is handled appropriately and justice is served. »
In the meantime, the realization of Artie’s departure sets in.
As the Garcia family returned from vacation, Artie is not there and his body had already been recovered by their trash company by the time they arrived.
Garcia says she was saddened that she couldn’t give Artie a proper burial and remains hopeful that they will see him again someday.
“I love him so much, he will forever be in my heart, I will never forget him and I hope we can meet again one day.”