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Grisly discovery for Arlington Heights family: dog dead in oven

Updated: August 15, 2012 6:05AM

A 9-year-old girl returned from vacation to a horrific discovery: Someone broke into her Arlington Heights home and put her tiny dog into the family’s convection oven.

The Cavachon named Coco was dead. And police say the oven had been turned on.

“It’s terrible for someone to do something like that to a poor, defenseless animal,” said a neighbor of the family. “She was definitely devastated.”

Although the home was ransacked and $3,000 in jewelry was missing, Arlington Heights Police said they think an ex-boyfriend of the girl’s mother was involved.

Det. Sgt. Rick Kappelman said the department believes it stems from “a domestic relationship involving an ex-boyfriend.”

The ex-boyfriend has been questioned but released because “there is not sufficient evidence at this time,” Kappelman said.

Kappelman said the homeowner has an order of protection against the ex-boyfriend, stemming from a May 20 incident involving harassment.

The man was arrested June 4 for allegedly violating that order of protection by “repeatedly texting, emailing and telephoning” the woman, Kappelman said.

“He just won’t leave her alone,” Kappelman said.

The family — a single mom with girls ages 7 and 9 — left home July 2 for a lake vacation and had a neighbor check on their house the next day. They returned home late on the morning of July 4 to find the jewelry missing and no immediate sign of their dog.

“Initially, the dog was thought to have been taken,” Kappelman said, but was “found the following morning by a family member inside a convection oven.”

A neighbor said it was the 9-year-old who discovered Coco. The neighbor said the oven was a microwave.

Kappelman said it’s not known if the dog was alive when it was put in the oven. But an examination of the dog’s remains revealed “the oven definitely was turned on at some point with the dog inside,” Kappelman said.

Although there is an “ADT” security sign in front of the house, the neighbor said the alarm was turned off to allow another neighbor to check on Coco while the owners were on vacation.

The neighbor said the family hasn’t been to the house since they discovered the dead dog.

“It was a nice little dog,” said neighbor Wes Ruggles, 40, out walking his two dogs, Sherman and Jackson. “A few times I saw it wandering around the neighborhood, and I took it back home because I was worried it would get hit by a car.”

“That’s horrific,” he said of the dog’s fate.

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