DELHI, Calif. - A brief search ended in a horrifying discovery after a high school student in Central California found a pig strangled and stabbed.
"This is something right out of a psychotic murder, thriller type movie," said William Snyder, Future Farmers of America advisor at Delhi High School in Merced County.
Snyder said the pig was put in a pen during a storm on Friday. On Sunday, he said a student called him and reported her pig was missing. She called him again 10 minutes later when she made the brutal discovery.
"She was almost in tears -- she was pretty tore up," said Snyder.
Snyder said an image of the pig, hung and burned, was shared on Snapchat.
Merced County sheriff's deputies are investigating the case as a felony. Sheriff Vern Warnke said -- as someone who raised several animals himself, including pigs -- the case is one that hits close to home.
"When you understand the dynamic and the dependence of these animals, I take that very seriously," Vern Warnke said. "And as the sheriff of this county, I won't put up with it. I don't care where it is, it's not going to happen or be tolerated."
School district officials did not disclose details about the incident but said there were procedures in place to deal with the situation.
"We had an isolated incident this weekend and we are dealing with it accordingly," said Superintendent Adolfo Melara, "As it related to students, I'm not going to share that at this time."
Warnke said the suspect could face animal cruelty charges.
Authorities were working to obtain surveillance footage from the school in an effort to identify the suspect. The motive was unknown, investigators said.