Father of boy mauled to death blames uncle

Riverview, Florida -- A Bay area family is torn apart and blaming each other after four-year-old Logan Shepard was viciously attacked by another family member's two pit bulls.

The deadly attack happened Saturday night around 10:30 p.m. at 125059 Rhodine Road in Riverview, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

The boy's father, Michael Shepard, and the child's grandmother, Norma Jean Bridges, told 10 News they blame Billy Fredericks, Sr. for the child's death. Michael was not at home when his son was attacked. He says he was changing out a transmission on a church bus.

Michael and Norma Jean both say Fredericks was careless and negligent.

One neighbor says she never saw the two pit bulls that attacked Logan secured in their kennel. The woman didn't want to be identified but says, "Every time they would be out here in the yard, the dogs would be lunging at that fence trying to get to them. I never did see them in that cage."

Bridges, with tears in her eyes, says it's one of the reasons she never visited the home which is right around the corner from where she lives.

The neighbor also said she doubts Delores and Billy Fredericks started locking up the dogs on Saturday when Logan was mauled to death.

"They were very vicious, very vicious. I don't know why they wanted to have dogs like that in our neighborhood with children," she says.

Investigators say the attack happened when Logan and his mother walked to the Fredericks' home nearby. Detectives say Billy told them he crated the animals so the mother and child could come inside. But family members say Billy didn't leave the animals inside the kennel during their visit but, instead, wanted them be out so they could roam "to protect his property."

Logan ate ice cream and watched cartoons in the family room inside the home along with his 15-year-old cousin. That child's mother tells 10 News that family members were talking and celebrating a new business venture. She says they were all just a few feet away in a bedroom when she says Logan somehow slipped outside away from his cousin and was attacked.

10 News tried on several occasions Monday to reach Billy Fredericks, Sr. at his home. We also called him numerous times. Parked out in front of his home was a car with the trunk lifted up as if someone was leaving. The Fredericks are from Las Vegas, but have the home in Riverview as well.

Meanwhile, neighbors say they're relieved the pit bulls have been put down and say a hole in the fence always worried them. Now Logan's father says they're forced to make funeral plans for a boy who loved mud bogging, Power Rangers and Curious George.

Despite the neighbors and family's allegations about how the pit bulls were housed, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office says at least for now no charges will be filed in the case.

Michael Shepard says his family may need help paying for Logan's funeral expenses. Check back at wtsp.com for updates once the family has set up a fund.


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