Perhaps one of the most harrowing 911 calls ever recorded was when Travis the chimpanzee nearly killed Charla Nash, mauling her face for several minutes.
The call is so disturbing that even the dispatcher doesn’t believe what he is hearing. However, you can actually hear the man’s tones of voice change when the caller says, “He’s Eating Her Face!”
Sandra Herold — the victim’s friend and owner of the chimp — placed the call at 3:45pm. Police arrive promptly, but not quickly enough, because each second that Travis was on top of Charla, he ripped away more of her face from her skull. The arriving officers were in total disbelief that Charla Nash had survived this horrific tragedy.
Herold had attempted to stop Travis, even repeatedly whacking him with a shovel. When her garden tool melee proved futile, Sandra took a butcher’s knife and sank it into the monkey. In a tear-jerking remembrance several months later, Sandra lamented, “He [Travis] looked at me like, ‘Mom! What did you do?”
Monkey and Pig
Travis secured his fate when he began attacking the officers who were struggling to separate him from Charla Nash. Once Travis did break free from his victim, he aimed his rage towards the officers themselves.
Using sheer force, Travis began trying to “rip the doors off” of the police cruiser, hoping to join the terrified police officers inside. Eventually Travis succeeds. Luckily, there were no officers inside when he does, and Travis becomes trapped. It was at this point one officer shot Travis “at close range”.
Police Captain Richard Conklin claimed:
“He’s trapped in his car… He has nowhere to go. So he pulls his sidearm and shoots the chimp several times in close proximity.”
Although mortally wounded, Travis escaped, and he ran into the house. Police follow his trail of blood where they found his body.
Travis had crawled into his bed and died.
A toxicology report on Travis’s body found traces of Xanax — an anti-anxiety medication. Sandra Herold revealed that before her friend Charla arrived, she had given him “several” Xanax mixed with tea.
However, the Xanny bars didn’t work for its intended purpose; or perhaps Travis was experiencing a serious side effect from the drugs. Perhaps, like many humans who take Xanax, Travis was suffering hallucinations when he attacked Charla Nash.
Charla had known Travis for ten years and had spent many hours in his company. However, on this day, Charla arrived sporting a new hairstyle, and when Travis didn’t recognize her, she tried to coo him by holding a stuffed animal in front of her face.
Investigators believe these changes confused the chimp.
Once Travis began attacking Charla, there was nothing she could do. Not only did the two-hundred-pound chimpanzee have a weight advantage, but these creatures are on average four to seven times stronger than a human of equal weight.
Monkey Meat Grinder
Somehow, Charla Nash survived this agonizing event, though after seeing her appearance, it is safe to say that most people in her position would rather be dead.
Charla’s face was completely ripped off. Travis had destroyed and ate several pieces of her upper body and face during the attack.
Paramedic Rick Esteben had arrived on the scene and later said,
“I saw some fingers. There were some teeth. There were blood trails up to where the patient was laying down. Her facial structure was completely gone.”
Paramedic Andrea Repco, claimed that when she saw Charla’s hands,
“I would have never imagined that an animal could have done that. They honestly looked like they went through a meat grinder.”
They took Nash to the Stamford trauma center, where Dr Kevin Miller began administering life-saving procedures. He stated,
“The monkey had ripped off her entire upper jaw. Had ripped off her nose, which was just hanging on by a thread. We found extensive chimpanzee hair and chimpanzee teeth implanted into the bone. I couldn’t believe that this woman was awake and conscious when she came in.”
Monkey See, Monkey Doom
Travis the chimpanzee was born inside a wild-life compound in Festus, Missouri. The owner of the compound, Connie Casey, had sold Travis (known as a “for profit product”) to Sandra Herold fourteen years earlier.
Shockingly, Travis’s mother — Suzy the chimpanzee — was killed similarly after she and two others escaped the compound for a sightseeing trip around their neighborhood.
Jason Coats, a self-described “country boy”, shot Suzy in his driveway and claimed he did so for self-defense reasons. However, Coats’s statement was refuted by several neighbors claiming that Suzy was already sedated and posed no harm to Jason.
Basically, he murdered her for no reason.
Jason Coats spent an extensive amount of time locked up for the shooting.
As Travis got older, he began gaining notoriety in the press. He could do many things that humans could do, including drawing and drinking from a cup. Producers featured Travis in several commercials and he’s even appeared on the Maury Povich Show.
Charla Nash has received extensive reconstruction surgeries over the years since Travis nearly mauled her to death. Most of the surgeries are aesthetic and serves no functional purposes besides a hint of normalcy in appearance.
From Poughkeepsie, New York, Charla (real name Francine) moved out from her home at seventeen-years-old and became a cowgirl in the rodeos. Here she would get the name Charlie, which she later changed to Charla.
According to friends and family, Charla has always been tough. She traveled the country and lived a life of excitement and passion.
It was at a horse auction she met her friend Sandra Herold. The two formed a close, bonded friendship that would span thirty years.
She has always been an “independent woman”, although now she is completely blind and needs continual help. She now lives in a nursing home outside of Boston.