Interviewed by David Perkins
As part of the HJW’S continuing coverage of recent reports of mutilations in Huerfano County, local researcher David Perkins recently spoke with Lou Girodo. Girodo has personally investigated the phenomenon for nearly 40 years, including 17 years as Chief Investigator for the District Attorney’s Office in Trinidad and 12 years as Sheriff of Las Animas County.
Perkins: Let’s jump right in. You’ve personally investigated over 50 cattle mutilations in Las Animas and Huerfano counties since 1975. What case stands out most in your mind?
Girodo: The most nerve-shattering case in my recollection was a steer that had been reported mutilated in the Ludlow area in 1975. I examined the scene carefully and found no prints, no tracks… nothing. As in what we call “classics”, the animal was missing its tongue, penis and one eye. The rectum appeared carved out. This looked to have been done with neat, bloodless cuts. I noticed that the sheaths on the horns were loose. I looked closer and saw what appeared to be rub marks on the back of the animal’s head.
Perkins: Rub marks? What did you think had created those marks?
Girodo: It looked like maybe a metal cable had been wrapped around the steer’s
Perkins: For what purpose?
Girodo: Possibly to lift it into the air. It took a pretty great force to knock those horn sheaths loose. The animal was on the side of a little hill. It looked to me like it had hit the ground and bounced down the hill a little ways. Another odd thing was that the hide on the hips was rolled up toward the front. I haven’t seen that before or since. I wanted to get another opinion, so I called in a vet. He showed up, looked the animal over and scratched his head. He pointed out that several bones in the steer’s hindquarters were broken. I asked him how he thought all that happened. I could tell he hated to admit it but said: “It looks like it was dropped from a considerable height.”
Perkins: What did the rancher think about it? Had he seen any suspicious vehicles? Helicopters?
Girodo: I interviewed the rancher and his wife and asked them that. They said that while they were having dinner as it was getting dark, they saw what looked like two headlights out in the pasture. As they watched, the lights rose into the air and zipped off to the north. They couldn’t tell if it was one object with two lights or two different objects. They heard nothing. They were pretty shook and decided it might be best to wait until dawn to investigate. That’s when the rancher on horseback found the dead steer and called the Sheriff’s Office. That was the most outstanding case of my career. It had it all.
Perkins: As you know, skeptics say that the so-called mutilations are actually the result of predator action on animals that died natural deaths. In your experience, what leads you to believe that is not the case?
Girodo: I understand why people would look for logical answers. I’ve had a lot of training and experience in law enforcement investigative techniques and procedures. I’m also looking for logical answers. I haven’t found them yet. The Ludlow case for instance would, to me, rule out the predator theory. I was raised in the country and have been around cows all my life. I know what coyotes and vultures and magpies can do. I can tell if a cow died from poisonous plants or a lightening strike.
Perkins: What other cases convinced you that the mutilations were not the work of common predators?
Girodo: There were a couple of cases early on, in 1975 and 1976 near Hoehne. The first one was a steer. The penis was gone. The tongue was gone. One eye was gone and the rectum had that cored-out look. We thought maybe it had been shot so we pulled the hide off and examined it really closely. No bullet holes. I remember first seeing the carcass and thinking … no, no, no … something is wrong here.
The other Hoehne case was kinda different. The animal had a fair-sized hole in it’s side. It looked deep. I called in a local lady vet on this one. I watched her do the autopsy. At one point I saw her get a very puzzled look on her face when she was exploring the hole in the animal’s side. I could see that one of the ribs looked to have been cut. It was a clean cut like it had been done with pinking sheers … not shattered or cracked. As she went deeper, she found that the heart was missing, gone. Apparently it had been extracted somehow through the space created by the cut rib. We could both see that the animal’s other vital organs had a brownish, mushy consistency. She took some samples to send to the lab at Colorado State. I never did get the results. She left town a couple days after the autopsy. Nobody knew where she went. I never found out. I thought that was strange.
Perkins: Strange indeed. This is a strange business sometimes. What about your investigations in Huerfano County?
Girodo: I believe it was in June of 1976 when I got a call from Huerfano Sheriff Jerry Conder to investigate five steers that had been mutilated near La Veta. They were laying in a circle in tall oak brush. They were almost identical: rectums cored out and missing the tongue and the eyes. Each of them had a strip of skin on their lower jaw removed.
Perkins: They remind me of the recent Huerfano mutilations where several animals where reported mutilated at roughly the same time and place. You mentioned an unidentified craft associated with the Ludlow case. Have you yourself seen any unusual aerial activity?
Girodo: I have. Back in the mid- 1970s we were working drug smuggling and mutilations with New Mexico law enforcement. I had radar in Denver zeroing in on a mesa near Branson. I got a call from Denver saying they were picking up four “bogies” over the mesa. I drove out there with a deputy. We got an update from Denver saying that three of the objects had gone down below the mesa and one was heading in our direction. Denver kept asking, “Can you see him? Can you hear him? He’s right over you!” I looked up and saw the form of what looked like a Jet Ranger helicopter. It had no lights and was totally silent. It disappeared to the north at a high rate of speed.
We decided to hold our position and see if the other three objects might show up again. At about 2 a.m. we saw this incredibly bright light light come up from behind the mesa. I remember looking at the deputy and saying, “Oh God, they’re here.” The light rose in the air and split in two. One part went to the north and the other part descended back behind the mesa. We scoured that entire area for three days looking for a mutilation, but we never did find one.
Perkins: So in your investigations, you’ve ruled out predators and cults. What about military involvement?
Girodo: It just doesn’t make any sense. The government controls thousands of acres all over the country. They could do anything they want to their own animals and nobody would ever know the difference. Why would they go in some guys backyard and kill his animals?
Perkins: So what does that leave in terms of suspects?
Girodo: Look up.
Perkins: You were quoted early in your investigations as saying: “It’s very possible that these mutilations are being done by creatures from outer space.” Is that still your assessment?
Girodo: Yes it is. Until the evidence convinces me otherwise. I’ve been totally consistent about that. I guess it’s human nature. If we see something we don’t understand or we fear, we put it on the back burner … we don’t want to deal with it. But this is something we’re going to have to deal with.