Ill. Girl, 1, Is Mauled to Death by Dogs at 4th of July Party

Marley Wilander was upstairs in a playpen when she was attacked

Marley Grace Wilander
Photo: Go Fund Me

A 17-month-old toddler girl was mauled to death by a pair of dogs at a Fourth of July party.

On Sunday, Marley Wilander's parents put her in a playpen in an upstairs room at a friend's house during a Fourth of July party in Illinois, WGN reports.

Hours later, two pit bull-mix dogs got out of the Joliet home's basement. At 1:30 a.m., the homeowner heard noises coming from upstairs. When they went upstairs, they discovered the dogs biting Marley.

The homeowner was able to separate the dogs from Marley and call 911. The baby had “bite marks throughout her body" and was transported to a local hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries, according to police, the Chicago Sun Times reports.

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Sign up for PEOPLE's free True Crime newsletter for breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases.

"Marley was the most beautiful little girl," her family wrote on a GoFundMe page. "Marley loved life and everything she was able to experience. Beyond intelligent, intuitive, and calming, this child has so many traits of a wonderful human being and had a big purpose."

A preliminary autopsy states she died from the attack, according to the Will County Coroner’s Office. The homeowners have turned the dogs over to the Joliet Township Animal Control, WSPY reports.

No charges have been filed in the case.

Related Articles