Farmer Terry Vance Garner “lived for” his pigs and reared them to be huge.
But the very same supersize hogs he adored ended up eating him.
And, chillingly, police said they will never know if Terry had suffered a medical emergency and collapsed in their pen, if he had been attacked by the animals, or there was some sort of foul play elsewhere beforehand.
While most pigs are bred to be around 350lbs, some of Terry’s tipped the scales at twice that.
One night, the 69-year-old went out to feed his stock and never returned.
When family members went to look for him they made a horrifying discovery.
His dentures and some clothing were found in the pig pen. On closer examination, chunks of his flesh were also discovered. He had been eaten by his own pigs.
A police spokesman said: “For all we know, it was a horrific accident, but it’s so doggone weird that we have to look at all possibilities.”
Devastated family members said the year before Mr Garner had accidentally stepped on a piglet and a large sow had attacked him.
There was a suggestion revenge could have been a motive for the pig in question.
Terry’s brother, Michael Garner, said: “He said he was going to kill it, but when I asked him about it later, he said he had changed his mind. He was a good hearted guy and those animals were his life.”
While pigs are not normally aggressive, cases of them devouring people are not unheard of.
In China a two-year-old was eaten when he wandered into a hog enclosure.
In Russia a woman had an epileptic fit while feeding her pigs and was eaten alive.
But tragedies aside, there are also countless macabre cases of criminals feeding their victims to the animals to get rid of evidence.
In 2013 as part of a mob feud, Domenico Bonarrigo was shot three times at the wheel of his car.
In revenge, rival boss Francesco Raccosta was kidnapped, beaten and thrown alive into a pig pen where he was devoured.
A secret police recording captured a Mafia hood saying: “It was satisfying to hear him scream…Mamma mia, how he squealed, but I couldn’t give a s**t. Someone said a few bits of him remained at the end of it all, but I couldn’t see anything, for me nothing remained at all. I said, wow, how a pig can eat.”
In 2016 42-year-old Italian businesswoman Maria Chindamo refused to sell her farm to the mafia.
It was claimed she was taken to a farmhouse, killed, put through a threshing machine and her remains fed to pigs.
In Oregon, USA, two workers mysteriously disappeared from Susan Monica’s farm.
When police investigated they found body parts in the pig pen and others in plastic bags in her barn.
Monica firstly claimed one of the men had shot himself in the head. When police pointed out he had been shot more than once, she then claimed she had killed him in self-defence, after which the pigs began to eat his body.
She claimed pigs had disemboweled the second man and that she shot him to ease his suffering. The jury didn’t believe her and she was jailed for 50 years.
David Tyll and Brian Ognjan, both 27, had been best friends since they were in Boy Scouts together. In 1985 they went on a hunting trip together and were never seen again.
Despite lengthy police investigations the case went cold until, in 2003, a police informant said the two had got in a drunken bar fight with a group including brothers Raymond and Donald Duvall.
The witness said the brothers had beaten them to death with an aluminium baseball bat and had subsequently bragged about putting their bodies through a wood chipper and feeding their remains to their pigs.
They were convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.