Human remains found in black bears after Colorado woman is killed

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Human remains have been found in the stomachs of two of three black bears that were euthanized after they mauled a woman to death in Colorado while she was out walking her dogs. 

The 39-year-old woman, who has not been publicly identified, was found dead by her boyfriend on a rural trail near Durango, in the state’s south-west, on Friday. 

When authorities arrived they found bear scat and hair near the scene before a dog search team located a female black bear and her two cubs nearby.

The three bears were euthanized and Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials performed a necropsy, which is similar to a human autopsy. 

Human remains were found inside the stomachs of the bear and one of her cubs. 

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The bears all appeared to be healthy according to an initial examination by a pathologist.


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They showed no sign of disease and had adequate fat stores following the winter hibernation season, the agency said. 

A microscopic examination of their body tissue and rabies testing to find other possible reasons that could have led them to attack will take up to two weeks.

‘Our thoughts and prayers go out to the boyfriend, family and friends of the woman we lost in this tragic event,’ said Cory Chick, CPW’s regional manager, said in the announcement of the necropsy findings. 

‘We cannot determine with exact certainty how or why this attack took place, but it is important for the public not to cast blame on this woman for the unfortunate and tragic event.’ 

Chick said the sow was potentially teaching its yearlings that humans are a source of food, not something to fear or avoid, making them dangerous to people. 

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Authorities say they believe the woman had gone walking with her dogs earlier in the day. 

Her boyfriend told police he had arrived home to find their two dogs with their leashes still on but his girlfriend missing. 

He discovered her mauled body about an hour later. 

An autopsy on the woman’s body is scheduled to take place on Tuesday.  

The most recent fatal bear attack in Colorado was back in August 2009 near Ouray, also in the southwestern part of the state. 

A 74-year-old woman was killed by a 394-pound male black bear and an investigation determined she had been illegally feeding bears through the fence in her yard. 

The woman’s death is just the fourth fatal mauling in the state since record-keeping began in 1960. 

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