Knight said the family adopted Lucky a few weeks ago, but their other dog has been with them for years. He said the McGrews “dog sat” for Lucky previously and decided to keep the dog when its previous owners wanted to give it up.
Knight said he knows of no prior complaints made about the dog, or any reports of aggressive behavior.
Asked why the boy's father apparently did not hear any commotion or awaken when the mauling took place in a nearby room, Knight said only that the matter is under investigation. The door to the room where the baby was apparently was open, he said.
Chantel McGrew told officials that she returned home just after 11 a.m. and found the infant on the floor by the swing with his legs torn off and his abdomen ruptured and bleeding.
The mother told 911 dispatchers that the father was asleep when she got home.
The boy was rushed by ambulance to Summerville Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Authorities said a helicopter was dispatched from Medical University Hospital, but plans to fly Aiden there were changed because of the boy's grave condition.
The Post and Courier's attempt to ask the child's mother about the incident were met by her landlord's demand to leave the property.
Shirley Pargiello, 70, a next-door neighbor, said the McGrews moved to the home just after Aiden was born. “I see them all the time coming home from the grocery store with the kids,” Pargiello said.
“They seem like a very nice couple and a nice family,” she said.
A Facebook page for Chantel McGrew depicts her and husband in loving embraces, and a photo of mom and Aiden is inscribed: “Best Valentines Day Present.”
Speaking about Lucky, Pargiello said she typically does not like dogs. “But it's a beautiful dog. I went over to say hi one day, and he came right up to me and stopped. I rubbed his head, then he left. It's a very gentle dog.”
Another next-door neighbor, who asked not to be identified, said the family's dogs “were never aggressive.”
Knight said that in addition to the sheriff's and coroner's offices, DSS, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control and the 1st Circuit Solicitor's Office are investigating the tragedy.
The State Law Enforcement Division's Child Fatality Review Team has been notified of the death and will decide whether to join the investigation, Knight said.
DSS workers were seen escorting the two older McGrew children from the home and into a vehicle Friday as deputies finished their work at the scene.
An animal control officer caged the family's two dogs and a few chickens that the family also kept in this remote area east of Cottageville. Their fate wasn't immediately known.
Knight said the dogs did not act aggressively when they were corralled and transported. He expressed his conviction that large dogs and small children do not mix.
The McGrews' dogs were being held in the afternoon in pens at the county Law Enforcement Center near Summerville. When the pen was approached by reporters and photographers, Lucky wagged his tail and barked as if beckoning the visitors to come play.