Hood County

December Death of Hood County Man Confirmed as a Wild Animal Attack

Officials continue to debate whether a mountain lion killed man near Lipan

Todos los parues y sitios de interés administrados por el estado cerrán cerrados hasta nueva orden.
Frank Heinz

The December death of Christopher Allen Whiteley has been confirmed to be the result of a wild animal attack, according to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office, but what kind of animal remains a mystery.

The Hood County Sheriff's Department made the announcement Tuesday saying the medical examiner determined the 28-year-old's cause of death was "injuries of neck, due to animal attack."

Hood County investigators said because of the ME's finding and because there were no signs of foul play, they were closing the investigation.

The sheriff's department said, however, there was still disagreement with The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department over what type of animal could have killed Whiteley.

In December, Texas Game Wardens, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department biologists, and subject matter experts conducted an inspection of the area where Whiteley was found and said "there is not any evidence of a predatory attack by a mountain lion at the location where the victim was found. A Unites States Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services trapper also evaluated the evidence and came to the same conclusion as our staff."

TPWD said 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. 

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department also said in December they had no records of a confirmed fatal attack on a person by a mountain lion in Texas and that they had no confirmed records of a mountain lion from Hood County.

A recent confirmed sighting of a mountain lion in Rowlett was nearly 100 miles away and was considered unrelated to this event. That mountain lion was believed to have been later shot by a hunter in Hunt County.

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