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‘He was a magical man’: Family honors dad, killed in Juniper Ridge dog attack, with memories, memorial service

(Update: Adding video, comments from Keeton's daughters, info from Sheriff's Office)

'Empathetic. Passionate. Funny.'

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Just over a week after 56-year-old Joseph Taylor Keeton was fatally mauled by three dogs at an encampment in Juniper Ridge north of Bend, an area known as "Dirt World," his family held a memorial service in his honor in Silverton on Thursday. On Friday, his daughters shared their memories with us.

We asked three of Keeton's daughters, Kansas, Dani and Jenna, what one word they would use to describe their dad. Their replies: "Empathetic, passionate, funny."

Joseph Taylor Keeton was born on Oct. 11, 1966 in Wichita, Kansas.

Deschutes County deputies say that on July 19, he was attacked and killed by three pit bull-mastiffs just after 1:15 in the morning.

Kansas Keeton told NewsChannel 21 about how their father's life began to unravel: "He was prescribed a lot of oxycontin and methadone -- drugs that really shouldn't be prescribed to people. Two years later, he left the family, in search of the relief that only opiates and those kind of drugs can provide."

According to his daughters, Joseph became addicted to prescription pills after he broke his ankle.

They describe him as intelligent and passionate, and remember his dreams of becoming a Hollywood director.

"He would have moments where he would be clean and sober, and just being his true authentic wonderful self," Dani Keeton recalled. "Unfortunately, it wouldn't last. But he was trying."

At one point, Joseph was a youth pastor and traveled across the country as a grad student making films.

"He was an amazing man, and he touched lives everywhere," Jenna Keeton said. "He had people that understood him."

The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office says the owner of the three dogs they believe are responsible for Keeton's death is cooperating with their investigation.

Since the family shared Keeton's life story online in touching, detailed fashion a few days ago, over $10,000 has been raised to help pay for expenses, including travel and funeral costs.

"I would like to say to him that I forgive him," Kansas told us.

"That's what I was going to say -- that I forgive you," Dani added.

"He was a magical man. And that's all I have to say," Jenna Keeton said.

The sheriff's office confirmed to us Friday that the dogs who who attacked Keeton are currently in quarantine at BrightSide Animal Center in Redmond.

Keeton is survived by his dad, two sisters, four daughters and three grandchildren.

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Blake Mayfield

Blake Mayfield is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Blake here.


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