dog attack
The mother of a 13-year-old girl who was killed by a pack of dogs on the Navajo Nation has said she "never thought that would happen".

Lyssa Rose Upshaw was walking in Fort Fefiance, a county within the Navajo Nation and Arizona, when dogs are thought to have attacked her in mid-May.

The girl's mother, Marissa Jones, found her daughter's body curled up on a dirt track and covered in dirt. She told the Associated Press that she suspected dogs, although she was waiting for confirmation from officials.

An autopsy requested by the AP confirmed that the teenager had died from a dog attack, and that it was accidental. The autopsy was carried out by the medical examiner's office in Coconino County, Arizona.

The report follows Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez recently vetoing a bill that would hold dog and animal owners accountable for attacks. It is not currently tribal law.

It is not yet clear if the teenager's death will be referred to the federal courts by Navajo officials, with the tribe's courts only able to sentence people to a year at most.

"The case is pretty far from being closed, far from being just put aside as an accident or a civil matter or anything like that," the Navajo Nation's head of criminal investigations told AP.

"We're still very aggressively pursuing to understand the case to the extent to where if there are any criminal elements attached to what happened."

Ms Jones added that her "baby girl", who had aspirations of running on the high school cross country team, deserved more compassion and sympathy from her neighbours who owned the dogs.

She added that a further investigation was necessary, and that whoever is found responsible should face jail time or a fine, even if that was difficult, and more attention from investigators on the case.

"I'm hoping and I'm praying for my daughter to get her justice," Ms Jones said.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press.