Officials in Northern California have reason to suspect that a woman who died inside her Downieville home was visited by a bear after she passed out.
That Nov. 8, Sierra County Sheriff’s Office deputies were asked to do a welfare check on Patrice Miller, 71, because he had not been seen or heard from in several days. Responding deputies forced their way in to find Miller dead, with evidence suggesting a “next encounter with a bear,” SCSO wrote in a Facebook post.
Bear entered the hotel through a ‘series of doors,’ attacked the security guard
Investigators believe Miller died before the “suspected bear encounter” inside his home. The sheriff’s office believes the animal was attracted to the home by the smell, among other possible factors.
“The Sierra County Sheriff’s Office extends its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Patrice Miller at this difficult time. Losing a member of the community is always a tragedy, and our thoughts are with those affected by this unfortunate incident,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.
It’s unclear what kind of bear was involved, although black bears are the only wild bear species in the state, according to the California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife.
The sheriff’s office is asking those living nearby to take precautions to avoid further bear encounters, by closing doors and windows on the property at night, locking their vehicles, and removing any food or waste from accessible areas.