DURANGO, Colo. (KRQE) – The Department of Colorado Parks and Wildlife reported Saturday the body of a dead woman was found Friday night off Highway 550 near Trimble, north of Durango. Officials believe the death to be the result of a bear attack. An autopsy of the 39-year-old woman will be performed early next week by the La Plata County coroner to identify the remains and determine the official cause of death.
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According to information provided to the La Plata County Sheriff’s office by her boyfriend, the Durango woman had gone walking with her two dogs Friday. She had last communicated with her boyfriend late Friday morning.
The boyfriend told the sheriff’s office he returned home around 8:30 p.m. and found the two dogs waiting outside. The woman was missing. He discovered her body around 9:30 p.m. then called 911 to report the incident.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) officials responded and observed signs of consumption on the body and as well as bear scat and hair at the scene. A dog team from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services found a female black bear and two younger bears. The bears were euthanized and taken to CPW’s Wildlife Health Lab in Fort Collins for an autopsy. DNA evidence from the bears and the scene will be sent for testing to the Wyoming Game and Fish lab in Laramie.
An examination of the female bear’s teeth led officials to believe she was over 10 years old. This is a developing story and News 13 will provide updates as they become available.