NEW ORLEANS -- The missing Louisiana Tech mascot believed to be missing has actually died because the bulldog was left outside in the sun for too long, according to school officials.
Dr. Patrick Sexton of the Sexton Animal Health Center, where the mascot Tech XX was being held, said one of his employees left the bulldog outside too long Sunday evening, and the mascot died from a heat stroke.
Sexton said the employee "chose to handle it the wrong way" and then tried to cover up the dog's death.
The media was notified earlier this week of Tech XX's disappearance. Officials said then that the bulldog may have been stolen.
"My family, my staff and I are extremely upset at this tragic turn of events as I know the entire Louisiana Tech Family is as well," Sexton said. "Tech XX was a member of our immediate family and a daily part of our lives for the past four years."
The employee has since been fired.
In a statement released by Louisiana Tech, the school said they were "saddened" to learn of his passing, and that the bulldog would be remembered as a symbol of the spirit of Louisiana Tech.
"Since becoming our official mascot in 2008, Tech XX received superior care and a loving home from Dr. Patrick Sexton and, despite the unfortunate circumstances of the past few days, we are grateful for all he and his family have done for our beloved mascot.
"Tech XX was a cherished member of the Louisiana Tech Family and, together, we will all grieve his passing.”