Wednesday, April 19, 2006

New Information About Bear Attack & Investigation

TWRA officers said they trapped a second bear but do not think it was the one that killed 6 year old Elora Petrasek and seriously mauled her mother Susan Cenkus and her two year old son Luke. The second bear is a male weighing about 120 pounds. Witness accounts have the suspect bear weighing closer to 200 to 225 pounds. The first bear trapped Easter Sunday weighs 203 pounds according to TWRA biologist Laura Lewis. She said a necropsy shows the bear did not have rabies and had no signs of a neurological disorder or disease that could alter the bears' behavior or make it more aggressive. Monte Williams, the USFS Ocoee/Hiwassee District Ranger, said the necropsy also shows the bear does not have any bullet wounds. A West Polk County Fire-Rescue officer earlier said he fired a .380 hand gun twice at the bear when he found it standing over Eloras' body and thought he struck the animal. The bear ran into the woods. Williams said the weapon was fired about 15 to 25 feet from the bear, but rounds fired from that calibre of weapon could have been deflected by the heavy ground vegetation in the area. Williams also said there was no blood from the bear found at the campsite. Some people who live near Chilhowee Recreation Area said they were concerned that so-called "trouble bears" taken from the Gatlinburg area are relocated to Polk County, and questioned whether the first bear caught was one of them. TWRA officer Les Jones said the bear did not have an ear tag or any other markings that they use to identify bears that have been relocated. Williams said the necropsy so far does not positively link the first bear with the victims....

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