Texas man found dead in woods may have been killed by a MOUNTAIN LION, warn cops
A TEXAS man found dead in woods may have been mauled to death by a mountain lion, cops have warned.
Preliminary findings by a medical examiner determined Christopher Allen Whiteley, 28, was “attacked by a wild animal, possibly a mountain lion,” according to a news release from the Hood County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday.
Deputies responded to a missing persons call and went to investigate an area in Lipan, around 85 miles west of Dallas.
Whiteley was last seen in the early hours of Wednesday and his body was later discovered in a wooded area by the authorities, according to the Dallas Morning News.
“The safety of Hood County Citizens are my priority one, but please don’t interfere with the process of locating the animal and stay clear of the area being actively worked by officials," wrote public information officer, Lt. Johnny Rose.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) though said on Sunday it found no evidence of a "predatory attack by a mountain lion at the location where the victim was found," according to a separate news release by the department.
The agency added that Texas Game Wardens, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department biologists, and a Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services trapper also conducted an inspection of the scene, and arrived at the same conclusion.
How deadly are mountain lions?
Despite their reputation the risk of mountain lions attacking humans is infinitely small.
You are more likely to drown in your bathtub, be killed by a pet dog, or hit by lightning.
However people are warned to be vigilant if you are out and about in their territory.
Avoid walking alone between dusk and dawn when lions are most active, the Mountain Lion Organisation says.
Keep your children and pets close to you. Never approach or corner a mountain lion (or any wild animal).
If you do encounter a mountain lion, stop. Do not run.
Unlike safety advice for encountering bears, do not act timid or play dead in front of a cat.
Maintain eye contact. Stand tall. Look bigger by opening your coat or raising your arms. Slowly wave your arms and speak firmly. Throw items at the lion if necessary. Give the cat room and time to move on.
"Fatal mountain lion attacks on people are extremely rare. In the past 100 years, there are fewer than 30 confirmed deaths due to mountain lion attacks nationwide," the agency wrote. "Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has no records of a confirmed fatal attack on a person by a mountain lion in Texas.
“Texas Parks and Wildlife also has no confirmed records of a mountain lion from Hood County."
The TPWD added that a sighting of a mountain lion about 100 miles away in Dallas County was considered to be “unrelated” to events.
The Hood County Sheriff’s Office wrote it is standing by the preliminary findings of the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office, "that rule out a suicide and a homicide on the death in question."
The department said it would continue to gather further evidence including statements from locals and await the final autopsy report.
"Hood County Sheriff Roger Deeds always airs (errs) on the side of caution when it comes to the safety and well-being of the citizens of Hood County and will continue to alert them of any safety issue that may affect them," the department added.
Local residents have been warned not to track the animal themselves and keep young children and animals indoors.
Last month a young hunter came face to face with a hissing mountain lion before shooting and killing the predator to “save herself”.
The woman, who identified herself as McKenzie, was walking alone in the mountains of Gunnison, Colorado, when she spotted the animal.
In September this year a mountain lion was filmed while it sat and watched a child riding a bike in front of a Bay Area home.
Pacifica resident Timothy Kerrisk captured the terrifying footage on Saturday in California and uploaded it to his YouTube channel.
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