A woman placed an urgent 911 call, convinced that her friend's pet chimpanzee, Travis, was in the act of inflicting near-fatal harm on her close friend. This horrifying incident occurred while the friend was visiting the chimp's owner, Sandra Herold.
Terrifying 911 Call Moments After Family's Pet Chimpanzee Unleashes Brutal Attack On Woman
Warning: Distressing Content
Travis lived with Herold in Connecticut and had achieved local fame in the area. However, prior to the attack, his behavior had begun to exhibit signs of increasing unpredictability.
On February 16, 2009, a friend of Sandra's, Charla Nash, was at her house. Travis took Sandra's car keys and went into the yard.
Charla tried to get him to come back inside by offering him a toy. Travis knew the toy, but he got confused because Charla had changed her hair recently.
Sadly, Travis attacked Charla outside the house. During the terrifying incident, Sandra called 911, and her frantic description of what was happening, along with the frightening sounds Travis was making, were recorded on the call.
"Tell me, what is the monkey doing?," the operator asks as Travis's harrowing, almost gleeful, wails and screeches echo down the line.”
"He ripped her apart! Hurry up! Hurry up! Please!” Herold breathlessly replies. “He—he ripped her face off! He's eating her face!”
“Gun! They got to shoot him! Please! Please! Hurry! Hurry! Please! I can’t. I can’t … He’s eating her! He’s eating her! Please! God! Please! Where are they? Where are they?”
Over a painful 12-minute duration, the heart-wrenching recording captures Sandra's desperate pleas for the police to quickly arrive at her residence and put down Travis, the creature she had cared for as her own son for the previous 14 years, as reported by the Daily Star.
Charla Nash, survived, but you could argue that in many ways, her life too came to an abrupt end that day. However, she was left with broken bones in her face, with Travis having torn her eyelids, nose, jaw, lips and most of her scalp.
He scalped her, gouged out and ate her eyes, chewed off one of her hands entirely and almost tore one of her arms off.
Her jaw was entirely dislocated from her skull and she was left with brain damage.
It is still not known why Travis - a local celebrity who would eat lobster in restaurants, had a pet cat, and loved driving around on a lawnmower - flipped out the way that he did that day.
Sandra later confessed to giving Travis a potent anti-anxiety medication, Xanax, by adding it to his daily tea when she observed that he appeared agitated earlier that day.
She also contended that his aggressive behavior might have been triggered because Charla had altered her hairstyle.
However, it is possible that at the age of 14 and weighing 200 pounds (14 stone), Travis' natural instincts had become too dominant.
Alternatively, his dissatisfaction with living an unconventional life that included preparing his own microwave meals, drinking wine during dinner, and using the toilet like a human could have contributed to his aggression.
Sandra had cared for Travis since he was just three days old, having paid a breeder $50,000 for the baby chimpanzee.
His biological mother was tranquilized so that he could be taken away, and from that point onward, he ceased to be just a chimpanzee; he became Sandra's "son."
To those on the outside, their connection seemed unbreakable, and they even shared a bed after Sandra's husband passed away.
Following the tragic attack on February 16, 2009, Sandra, who was then 70 years old, told reporters, "He couldn't be more my son than if I gave birth to him."
However, every bond has its limits, and for Sandra, that moment arrived when she witnessed her beloved "little boy" savagely injuring her best friend.
Due to the severe injuries Charla sustained, Sandra was the sole person who could provide a detailed account of what had triggered the attack.
According to her, Travis initially exhibited aggressive behavior toward Charla, then stood on his hind legs before launching the brutal assault.
He threw her against the side of her car and proceeded to inflict gruesome injuries on her face and hands.
In a desperate attempt to stop the attack, Sandra resorted to stabbing him in the back with a carving knife and striking him on the head with a shovel, which temporarily halted the violence.
She vividly recalled the moment when Travis turned and looked at her before she fled for her safety, locking herself inside her car.
Sandra said: “I grabbed the shovel and hit him with the shovel to stop it. It wasn't working, so I went and I had to get a knife and I stabbed him. I had to.”
"He looked at me like, ‘Mom, what did you do?’”
When the police arrived at the scene, Travis was in a frenzied state of extreme aggression. He even managed to open one of their patrol car doors and lunged at an officer.
Despite being shot four times at point blank range Travis didn't die.
He ran back in to the house, and collapsed dead on his special bed, leaving a trail of blood behind him.
The gunshots are heard in the background of Sandra's breathless 911 call.
Upon the arrival of paramedics at the scene, the extent of the victim's injuries was so severe that they couldn't determine the person's gender.
It was like a scene from a horror movie, with "strips of flesh and scalp" strewn about the yard of Sandra's Stamford, Connecticut, residence.
Initially, they presumed that Charla, who was a mass of bloodied tissue with no identifiable facial features, lay motionless in a pool of her own blood, and they believed her to be dead - until she moved.
They sprung into action, and managed to save her life.
The brutal attack had caused her to lose half of her blood and she would later undergo a face transplant.
Sadly, a pioneering hand transplant was rejected by her body.
After the incident, NBC reporter Jeff Rossen asked Sandra: “After what you've been through with this your friend is in the hospital fighting for her life do you still think chimps should be pets?"
She replied: “Would I have done it again? Yes! They're the closest thing to humans to us."
“We can give them a blood transfusion, and they can give us one. How many people go crazy and kill other people? This is one incident that I don't know what happened.”
“It was a horrible thing. But I'm not a horrible person. And he wasn't a horrible chimp. It was a freak thing.”
Fifteen months later, Sandra tragically passed away from an aneurysm. At her burial, two urns were placed beside her: one contained her daughter's ashes, while the other held Travis's remains.
The sole survivor of that horrifying day is Charla Nash, who now resides in darkness, bearing a transplanted face and relying entirely on the caregivers at the facility where she will spend the remainder of her life.