Information Needed In Deer Death At Nature’s Classroom

Deer Found Beaten To Death At Environmental Education Center

This month three deer were killed at Nature’s Classroom and now wildlife officials need the public’s help in finding the killer.

It happened sometime between October 2nd and October 3rd. Officials said, an intruder entered the Thonotosassa compound and killed two deer named Bucky and Rosie and beat their offspring, Katie.

The deer were found by a teacher at Nature’s Classroom, Lisa Wancio. Katie was tended to by a veterinarian, but died from her injuries the next day.

“We’re searching for leads. We’re pretty much at a dead end,” said James Boogaerts, local spokesman for the Florida Wildlife Commission, per the Tampa Bay Times.

Surveillance cameras at the park did not catch the crime on camera and administrators at Nature’s Classroom have heightened security measures until an arrest is made.

“They were apart of my life and that’s why it’s important that we get some closure to this,” said Wancio.

Photo: ABC Action News
Photo: ABC Action News

“These deer were cared for and looked after and interacted with students daily,” Boogaerts said. “It’s heartbreaking. We’re hoping somebody saw something, heard something, knows something, and will come forward.”

Nature’s Classroom was founded in 1968. It aims to give children a hands-on lesson in Florida’s wildlife. The park is centered on 365 acres and includes an animal compound with native species that were either trapped as nuisance animals or are too fragile to be released into the wild.

Anyone who can provide information to the wildlife agency is asked to call (888) 404-3922. The Hillsborough Sheriff’s Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay is also taking calls at (800) 873-TIPS, and offering a $3,000 award for information leading to an identification and arrest. Report anonymously online at or send a mobile tip using the P3 Tips Mobile application.  Crime Stoppers must be contacted first in order to be eligible for a cash reward.