Hunting Accident File > Violations

IA: 4 Teens Confess To Beating Raccoon To Death

May 26, 2010

DNR: 4 Teens Confess To Beating Raccoon To Death

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Iowa Department of Natural Resources officials said Wednesday that four teens were charged after they confessed to killing a raccoon.

DNR spokesman Kevin Baskins said the incident happened at Ledges State Park on Saturday night.

The boys, ranging in age from 15 to 18, were on a church youth group camping trip with the Third Reformed Church in Pella.

Investigators said the teens made a crude snare to trap a raccoon wandering near the campsite. They took a sapling tree and bent it all the way over, then put a rope in the middle with some bait. The animal walked into the trap and was caught in the rope.

"It was basically a home made trap, almost like you would see in old western shows. They had the tree bent over and that was basically used to snare the animal," said Baskins.

The teens told authorities that they panicked and didn't know how to free the animal, so they beat it to death.

Another camper called authorities to report what happened. DNR officials said the teens confessed to the beating.

All four teens were charged with illegal trapping and killing of wildlife, a $161.25 fine with court costs. Authorities identified the teens as Frank Ahrens, 18, of Montezuma; Jacob Gleason, 15, of Leighton; Brennan Mejia, 16, of Pella and Tyler Holtrop, 16, of Otley.

Baskins said the teens could have faced more serious charges but did not because they confessed and apologized.

"We're pretty well satisfied that these kids were remorseful about what happened. You know, hopefully we've had a bad situation here that is at least a learn experience and teachable experience for others," said Baskins.

DNR officials said they ask all campers to respect nature and don't encourage close encounters with animals.

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