Washington: An Indian-origin hiker found dead in September near a circling bear in a wildlife preserve in West Milford, a township in New Jersey state of the US, was actually mauled to death by the bear, an autopsy report has revealed.
Darsh Patel, 22, is confirmed as the first person in New Jersey history to be killed by a bear, nj.com website quoted the authorities as saying.
He was killed by the 300-pound bear's claws and teeth Sep 22, Chief Timothy Storbeck of the West Milford police said.Patel's cause of death is listed as "mauling" - and the cause of the fatal injury is "mauled by bear", authorities added. They had earlier said that Patel sustained numerous bites and claw marks.
The bear was predatory and stalking hikers before the attack and the animal that was euthanised where Patel's body was found has been confirmed to be the same bear who killed the Rutgers student, officials have concluded.
However, the full autopsy results, which include toxicology tests, are likely to take several months, authorities added.
Patel and four friends were hiking in the Apshawa Preserve when they encountered two hikers who warned them about a bear following them, police said. However, the five friends moved forward, and started taking pictures of the bear, from what they thought was a safe distance, police chief Storbeck said.
When the bear came closer, the five turned around. But the bear closed the distance and eventually the group took off running, splitting up in panic as they did so, authorities said.
Neither of the hiking groups in the woods that evening intimidated or provoked the bear, the investigation found.