Jordan Gibble / Houma Courier
The investigation of the March 24 death of a 4-year-old girl who was attacked by her mother's dog has come to a standstill until authorities can interview the girl's mother and her boyfriend, also the dog's owner, Houma Police said Tuesday.
'Our detectives are in the process of trying to interview Megan and Kerry, who were the owners of this dog, but so far they've been unsuccessful in their attempts to talk to them,' Chief of Police Todd Duplantis said.
Detectives have been told that Megan Touchet, the mother of the victim who also was injured in the attack, and Kerry Dominique are reluctant to speak to them on the advisement of their attorneys, Duplantis said.
Until detectives are able to question them concerning how Mia DeRouen and her mother were attacked by Niko, the 2-year-old, 130-pound dog, the investigation cannot proceed, Duplantis said. The attack happened at Houma Highlands, 461 S. Hollywood Road.
'We're still investigating this case aggressively. We're just at a roadblock right now,' Duplantis said. 'We know what our officers saw that night. We know what animal control saw that night. But the investigation won't be complete until we've talked to them.'
Other matters have come up during their investigation, Duplantis said, including allegations that the dog may have been abused or injected with steroids to increase its size and strength, as well as the dog's definitive breed.
Rabies tests on the dog came back negative, Duplantis said, but tests to prove whether the dog had been injected with anabolic steroids were unable to be performed.
'The dog has to be alive to be able to run steroids tests on it,' said Valerie Robinson, director of Terrebonne Parish Animal Control.
Duplantis said tests have not been run on the other dog found in Touchet's apartment, a 6-month-old named Khloe, who is being held at the Terrebonne Parish Animal Shelter until the end of the investigation.
Allegations of the dog's abuse and whether it was a pit bull or another breed are still under investigation, Duplantis said.
'We've heard reports that the owners may have abused the dog or that the dog may have been any one of a number of breeds such as an American bully or a pit bull and Mastiff mix. But we have not determined that yet,' Duplantis said. 'As of the night of the incident, we were told that the dog was a pit bull, but that's something else we'll have to ask Touchet and Dominique when we interview them.