A whale that washed up on the Jersey shore recently wasn't killed by natural causes. It was... murder! Whale murder! Now authorities are on the hunt for the shadowy cetacean slayer.

The short-finned pilot whale that washed up in Allenhurst, New Jersey had been shot in the head. The bullet lodged in the animal's jaw, causing an infection that prevented it from eating, and it starved to death. A whale expert told NJ.com, "No other bullet has been found in a whale in New Jersey."

The person who shot the whale could face up to a $100,000 fine and a year in prison. Authorities are offering $2,500 for information leading to the whale killer's arrest.

Why did this person murder a whale? Next time, on Law & Order: Aquatic Mammals Victim's Unit: We discover the murderer had been splashed extra hard by Shamu at Sea World as a child and vowed to devote his life to extracting revenge on all whalekind. But can the police track him down before an angry whale does and delivers its own cruel form of vigilante justice? (Swallowing the whale murderer and keeping him in its belly for three days and nights.)

[Image via Shutterstock.com]