It certainly sounds creepy and mysterious. So what's going on?
Mitchell's proposed explanations, though bizarre on their face, are not that far-fetched in the world of paranormal and conspiracy beliefs. That one or more people (it's not clear why teenagers were singled out) might harm a cow is certainly possible, but very unlikely. Surely most people - and especially most teenagers, even ones in rural Henry County, Mo. - have better things to do than drive to a remote ranch, park their vehicle, cross a fence, hike to an isolated area where one or more cows are grazing, kill one, and then cut out the animal's tongue, ear, or udder with a surgical instrument - especially during one of the worst heat waves in years.
The same is true for the idea that the cows died in some sacrificial ritual. Animal sacrifice has historically been a part of many religions, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Hinduism, though in modern America the practice is mostly limited to Afro-Caribbean religions such as Santeria. However these groups carefully choose, groom, and prepare their own sacrificial animals - typically goats, chickens, and sheep; they don't pick them at random from ranches and sacrifice them on the spot. As for Satanists, there is no evidence that true Satanic cults exist, much less tour rural midwest ranches looking for cows to kill and remove body parts from.