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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Authorities now say a cat believed to have been shot in the face outside a Chesterfield County animal rescue earlier this week actually died of blunt force trauma.

Lynne Layton, the  director of Smitty's Cat Rescue, said she found "Chester" in a pool of blood in the shelter's driveway off Jefferson Davis Highway around 5 a.m. Wednesday when she arrived to feed the animals.

Chester

Chester

“I hit my knees because Chester was the first one who greeted me every morning. I looked down and I went ‘oh my God Chester’, it was the most horrific scene that I can tell you I have ever seen in my life,” Layton said. “They shot him point blank in the right eye, point blank and killed him.”

Chester was buried Wednesday under his favorite peach tree on the shelter property where he was born seven years ago.

However, after WTVR CBS 6's report aired Wednesday night, Chesterfield police exhumed the animal's body Thursday to perform a necropsy.

Officials said the cat was not shot as originally reported as there were no entrance or exit wounds.

In fact, based on the exam and x-rays, police said it appears the cat died from blunt force trauma and was struck by a car.

Felines outside Smitty's Cat Rescue

Felines outside Smitty's Cat Rescue

 

Layton had added new lighting outside the property after the incident.

Smitty’s is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 2008 to provide care and find homes for surrendered and homeless cats and kittens. It currently has 31 indoor cats and kittens and 8 outdoor feral cats. ​