Mountain Lions Killed After Eating Human Remains

Arizona officials are investigating the connection between a man charged for theft of a vehicle belonging to a missing Oklahoma man and an unidentifed body found scavenged by three mountain lions.

Mountain Lions Killed After Eating Human Remains

Arizona officials are investigating the connection between a man charged for theft of a vehicle belonging to a missing Oklahoma man and an unidentifed body found scavenged by three mountain lions.

Pima County Sheriff's Department officials closed Pima Canyon Trail near Tucson on Jan. 1 after human remains were found. Three mountain lions that had been feeding on the body were killed that night, according to the Arizona Game & Fish Department, because they showed no fear of humans and did not disperse.

“Mountain lions are not routinely scavengers. A mountain lion eating human remains is abnormal behavior. Those that do are more likely to attack a human being in the future,” Game & Fish Department Regional Supervisor Raul Vega said in a statement provided to CNN affiliate KGUN.

Vega added: “In addition, they did so 50 yards from a popular hiking trail and within sight of homes, and repeatedly showed no fear of responding officers.” He said the mountain lions “were a clear and present danger to public safety.”

An autopsy was performed on the body, which has not been identified publicly. The mountain lions are being preserved as possible evidence in the death investigation.

Police are investigating the disappearance of Steven Mark Brashear, who officials say left Bartlesville, Oklahoma, on Dec. 7 for the Tucson area and reportedly met someone there before not being seen again. Brashear is officially listed as missing.

The Pima County Sheriff's Department arrested Daylan Jacob Thornton, 21, on Jan. 3 about 8 p.m. in connection with the theft of Brashear's vehicle. Officials believe Thornton knew Brashear in Oklahoma, but have not made any further connection between the two. 

Update: Story has been updated to reflect that officials have not publicly identified the remains discovered in Pima Canyon Trail. 

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