ROCK HILL, S.C. -- A York County family is trying to cope with the fact that their dog is not coming home.
"This is shocking. I don't know what to say," said Scarlett Turcotte.
She is talking about their dog, Lilly, who they rescued from a puppy mill. When she didn't come home Monday night, the family was worried and started to look for her.
"She was part of our family," Turcotte said.
The Turcottes live next to a wooded area and Lilly had somehow made it around a fence and made her way into the woods. The next day Scarlett and two of her boys found Lilly, lying dead in a clearing not far back in the woods.
An autopsy revealed the dog had been shot.
"It was a pellet gun, straight through the heart," said Kris Turcotte, Scarlett's husband.
During her short life, Lilly had worked her way into the hearts of all the Turcottes. But especially three-year-old Cameron, who the family had only recently learned is autistic.
Scarlett said there seemed to be a special bond between Cameron and Lilly.
"Cameron was warming up to her. He'd realize there is a dog here and would touch her and put his little foot on her belly," she said.
The family has only been in the house for about three months and is now afraid in the yard and the woods.
From the spot where Lilly was found, other homes are clearly visible through the trees, and Kris said his neighbors are worried.
"A little bit scared to know that somebody could be shooting animals in the backyard. You know, kids play out here," he said.
Scarlett has a message for whoever it was that shot Lilly.
"You took away a part of the kids' family and our family, so shame on you."