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Cops: Boys bludgeoned school turkey to death

Man, students break into middle school barn to steal animals, officials say

Jose Otero

DELTONA, Fla. – Two juveniles and one adult have been arrested on animal cruelty charges after deputies say they bludgeoned a turkey to death and stole three rabbits from a middle school.

Volusia County deputies said Jose Otero, 26, went to Deltona Middle School's barn with three boys, ages 14, 11, and 8 on Sunday night.

Otero waited outside while the boys jumped the fence into the barn and chased around a turkey before bludgeoning it to death with a gardening hoe, deputies said. Otero then told the boys to give the turkey to him, according to a release.

The boys also took three rabbits, but one died. It's not known how the rabbit died, but the 11-year-old tossed the rabbit into a lake nearby.

Neighbors on Landmark Street reported to authorities there was suspicious activity involving animals screaming around 7 p.m., according to the release. When they arrived, deputies found the two living rabbits and Otero skinning a dead turkey, who he said was given to him by unknown kids.

Otero was charged with burglary and petty theft and transported to the Volusia County Branch Jail. The older boys, an Enterprise Elementary School student and a Heritage Middle School student were charged with burglary, grand theft and animal cruelty. They were released to relatives.

The 8-year-old wasn't charged because deputies said they believed he had been coerced to participate by the others. The two living rabbits were also taken back to the school.