MESA, Ariz. - A family of Salt River Wild Horses went from 9 to 8 members after one of the band's youngest foals, a 6-month-old horse called Kai by local observers, was chased down shot and killed.
"This is absolutely horrible to us, these horses are our family," said Simone Netherlands, the president of the Salt River Wild Horses Management Group.
SRWHMG is a non-profit that tracks and watches over the various bands of wild horses in the area.
Netherlands says shots from what's believed to be a shotgun also injured two other horses, and the horrific brutality didn't end there.
"We can't imagine who would do such a thing and the most horrible part of it is that the genitals were removed off of the dead horse," she said.
Volunteers say someone mutilated Kai after the baby horse went down from multiple gunshot wounds, some to the head and neck.
Another wild horse, named Dotty, was shot and killed near the Salt River around this same time last year.
"An animal you're not going to eat, it's not bothering you, it doesn't attack you," said volunteer Jake Jacobson.
"They're like family and to see something like this happen it just breaks your heart," said Mary Ann Jacobson, another volunteer with the management group.
Volunteers tracked the band of horses Monday night to check on the two also injured. The good news is that they seemed to be healing on their own.
The suspect is only described as a man, wearing a dark green shirt and black shorts or underwear. Witnesses told investigators he was with two other people.
The Maricopa County Sheriff's office said Monday night it was mobilizing a mounted posse to look for evidence and investigate the shootings.
"It's getting out of hand, they've got to stop this guy whoever it is," said Jake.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call MCSO. A reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest.
The Salt River Wild Horse Management group is trying to increase the reward money with a GoFundMe page.