The Hunt County Sheriff's Department is among several agencies investigating the gruesome death of a rare white buffalo, born nearly a year ago on a ranch near Greenville.
Lakota Buffalo Ranch owner Arby Little Soldier said he and his wife returned from out of town to find the calf, considered sacred by some in the Native American community, killed and skinned. The next day its mother was also found dead.
The non-albino white buffalo was named Lightning Medicine Cloud in a special ceremony last summer. The chance of a white buffalo birth is said to be 1 in 10 million.
"My people – my brothers, my sisters – are hurt for what has happened here at this ranch," Little Soldier said. "You don't think things like this are going to happen to such a sacred animal, a sacred family."
Sheriff Randy Meeks said he was notified of the crime by Texas Parks and Wildlife. His office is investigating with the help of the Department of Homeland Security and the National Indian Council.
He wouldn't reveal details surrounding the investigation, saying he is ever mindful of the significance of rituals and order in the tribe.
"Everything we did, we made a request and made sure it was fine with them out of respect for the tribal council," Meeks said.
Little Soldier said the animal was more than just a symbol of hope, one who's legend will live strong at the Lakota ranch.
"He was the hope of all nations," he said. "You have taken the inner spirituality. You tried to stop what we're bringing back to ya'll, but you just opened the doors to release the message to all people."
He hopes to bury Lightning Medicine Cloud with his mother and father along a tree line. The calf's father was struck by lightning about a month ago.