National/World

Owner of chimp in Conn. attack dies

Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Charla Nash on Oprah

Chimp attack victim Charla Nash as she appeared on an episode of Oprah in Novemeber of 2009.

A Connecticut woman whose chimpanzee mauled and blinded her friend last year has died, her attorney said Tuesday.

Sandy Herold died Monday night of a ruptured aortic aneurysm, lawyer Robert Golger said.

Herold's 200-pound chimpanzee, Travis, who went berserk in February 2009 after Herold asked her friend, Charla Nash, to help lure it back into her house in Stamford. The animal ripped off Nash's hands, nose, lips and eyelids before the animal was shot and killed by police.

"Ms. Herold had suffered a series of heartbreaking losses over the last several years, beginning with the death of her only child, then her husband, then her beloved chimp Travis, as well as the tragic maiming of friend and employee Charla Nash," Golger said in a statement. "In the end, her heart, which had been broken so many times before, could take no more."

Nash recently underwent a preliminary evaluation to determine if she is a potential candidate for a face and hand transplant at a Harvard-affiliated hospital.

A prosecutor said in December that Herold would not face criminal charges because there was no evidence she knowingly disregarded any risk the animal posed.

Nash's family has sued Herold for $50 million and wants to sue the state for $150 million, saying state officials failed to prevent the attack.

Golger said he expected the lawsuit to continue.

A telephone message left with an attorney for Nash's family wasn't immediately returned.

"The stress of defending a multimillion-dollar lawsuit and all that it entailed also weighed heavy on Sandy," Golger said. "She hated living alone in a house where she faced constant reminders of the vibrant and happy life she once led with her family and friends."

Golger described Herold as generous and an animal lover.

"In a world where too many people strive to just fit in, she stood out as a true individual," Golger said. "She marched to the beat of her own drum and was proud of it."

(Copyright ©2014 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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