California: Woman found dead in mountains was victim of first fatal bear attack | American news

It was initially thought that Patrice Miller, 71, died before the bear arrived at her property in a small mountainous Sierra Nevada town, but a recent autopsy confirmed she was mauled to death.

By means of Claire Gilbody Dickerson, news reporter

Friday June 7, 2024 08:06, UK

A woman found dead in her home in a remote, mountainous area was the victim of California’s first fatal black bear attack, wildlife officials say.

Patrice Miller’s body was discovered by deputies conducting a welfare check as she had not been seen in days.

When they arrived at the Sierra Nevada property, they found a broken door and bear feces on the porch.

Patrice Miller’s house in Downieville. Photo: KCRA/AP

“It appeared the bear had probably been there for several days and had been feeding on the remains,” Sheriff Mike Fisher told local media.

An autopsy and DNA testing recently confirmed that the bear had killed the 71-year-old.

“This incident marks the first known, documented fatal attack by a black bear in California history,” the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said in a statement.

It was originally thought that Mrs Miller – who lived in the small town of Downieville – had died before the bear arrived, and that the animal had been attracted to the property by its scent.

Concerned neighbors had reported seeing the bear return to the house repeatedly, and that it was later trapped and euthanized.

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Steve Gonzalez, spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, said: “It’s a big problem. That doesn’t happen in California.

“Normally a bear will stay away from you, a bear that is not normalized to human behavior.”

Bears entering homes or garbage cans in search of food have become a problem in the state, with some raiding refrigerators and taking dips in backyard pools and hot tubs.

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