The McNeelises adopted the stray Sheltie-Corgi Mix three weeks prior to the accident, and it showed no warnings signs of aggressive behaviors. The dog was being held in an animal control facility.
Relatives said James was playing outside with the dog before the attack.
Creek County Sheriff Bret Bowling told the media, “it doesn’t look like any foul play. Our preliminary indications or investigation show it’s some kind of animal.”
A neighbor, Shannon Edison, recalled hearing a blood-curdling scream from a woman as her family was celebrating a birthday party on their porch. She knew something was amiss as they heard the commotion next door.
Edison said, “as a mother, you know that scream; if anybody has ever heard that scream, you know that scream. Something was catastrophically wrong. It was gut-wrenching. No family should ever have to go through something like that.”
Michael McNeelis posted a statement on social media saying, “James was so full of life and light, and he was going to change the world. And he still is. His light will change the world. We felt alone and lost without him, and we’re doing all we can, but it’s just hard. Everything just hurts without my little boy here.”
The family plans to move from Creek County after their son’s funeral.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help with the boy’s memorial and creation expenses.