OTTAWA COUNTY —A Kansas homicide victim’s Australian shepherd found in California where it had been adopted out by an animal shelter has been reunited with his Kansas family.
The dog, named Zeus, and a pickup truck were missing when a family member found Matthew Schoshke’s body at his rural home on Aug. 12.
The Ventura County California Animal Services Center shared more of the story on their social media page.
“Tragedy struck a Kansas family in early August when Jan and Gary Schoshke’s son, Matthew became the victim of a senseless homicide. The suspected killer presumably stole his truck, kidnapped his loyal companion, an Australian Shepherd named Zeus, and eventually made his way to California.
Law enforcement caught up with the suspect after he spent time in a Northern California hospital. Zeus, however, was not with him. The dog was found tethered to a tree near the train station in Ventura where the suspect left him before boarding a northbound train – leaving Zeus with no known connection to the victim or to the crime.
Following Matthew’s murder, the family began searching for Zeus. They subsequently created a Facebook page titled, Help the Matt Schoshke Family, to which an individual posted a picture of an Australian Shepherd taken at our Camarillo Animal Shelter suggesting that it might be the missing dog.
This person also thought that the dog had been adopted out of the shelter to another family. After speaking to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and Ottawa Sheriff Department, we concluded that the dog that had been in our care was, in fact, Zeus!
Tara Diller, Director of Ventura County Animal Services, and Bryan Bray, VCAS Field Operations Supervisor, met with the family who adopted Zeus from VCAS and explained the horrific circumstances surrounding the dog.
They had no idea their new four-legged family member had suffered such a traumatic loss. After presenting them with documentation related to the case, the family agreed to release Zeus back into the shelter’s custody so the dog could be reunited with Matthew’s parents in Kansas.
Tara Diller made contact with the Schoshkes by phone. She said, “It was the most touching conversation! Matthew’s mother told me, ‘Getting Zeus back is almost like getting my son back!’”
Since his death, Matthew’s family has gone through an unbelievable ordeal. It is our hope that Zeus’ homecoming will not only bring some closure, but also provide them a piece of the love that was shared between the dog and his beloved master.”
Thirty-four-year-old Robert Colson, of Bucksport, Maine, is charged with second-degree intentional murder in the killing. He was arrested about two weeks after the killing in Martinez, California. He had been injured while trying to escape from an Amtrak train after a person was stabbed.