Dalton McConathy terrorized his friends and family through his love for animals–often wild animals. He consistently pulled pranks–drawing designs in permanent marker on their faces at night, shaving his sister’s eyebrows while she slept, throwing snakes at his friends, and holding possums over his mother’s head as she awoke in the morning.
“We would come home and he would have raccoons and possums in the living room,” his mother, Kim Lowery, told msnbc, adding that she always took notice of her surroundings in case he pulled another prank. “It was entertaining, I’ll put it that way.”
Lowery said she tolerated the animals, but pushed her 17-year-old son to lock them in a cage or leave them outside in the yard.
Dalton raised chickens in his bedroom, sneaked pigs into the house under his jacket, and picked up stingrays that floated ashore at the beach. With aspirations to become the next “Crocodile Hunter,” Dalton was fearless in holding wild animals, and never suffered from a bite. The fearless adventurer planned to go skydiving with his older brother when he turned 18 next April.
If friends visiting him weren’t interested in spending time outdoors, Dalton sometimes left them behind with his parents inside their home in Fort Oglethorpe, Ga. But he often convinced his girlfriend to hunt and fish with him.
Dalton was home-schooled and usually awoke at 4 or 5 a.m. to work independently on construction projects, including a barn for his horse and a tree house for the yard.
“To him it didn’t matter if he had anybody to go with or not,” his mother said. “If he did, it was wonderful. If not, he was going out by himself.”
Dalton was fatally shot in a residential area in Ringgold, Ga., on Nov. 11. The investigation is ongoing.