Last Sunday, a man was out checking his hog traps in a pasture in rural Erath County, some 70 miles southwest of Fort Worth, when he stumbled upon 43-year-old Ricky Stephens.
Stephens was alive, but barely. He had been severely beaten and was covered in severe burns, the Stephenville Empire-Tribune reports. He was taken to Parkland Hospital, where he remains in a medically induced coma.
The Erath County Sheriff's Office, fresh off dealing with the media storm that blew in following the shooting death of "American Sniper" Chris Kyle, has been slow to release information. When the Empire-Tribune first reported the beating on Wednesday, law enforcement officials provided no details other than to say they were investigating and that it was a "fluid situation."
Now the newspaper is reporting that Stephens had been tied to a tree, and his attackers had attempted to castrate him. Those details were provided by unidentified persons close to Stephens and have yet to be confirmed by law enforcement.
"We don't have anything new to add at this time," Erath County Sheriff Tommy Bryant told the Empire-Tribune this morning. "We are still interviewing witnesses."
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We've left a message with Bryant's office. We'll post an update when we hear back.