Montana grizzly shot, killed after fatal attack of California woman

National News

FILE – This April 26, 2006 file photo, shows Jacobsen Creek, a tributary of the North Fork of the Blackfoot River near Ovando, Mont. Authorities say a grizzly bear attacked and killed a person who was camping in the Ovando area early Tuesday, July 6, 2021. ( Jennifer Michaelis/The Missoulian via AP, FIle)

HELENA Mont. (AP) — Wildlife officials said they shot and killed a Montana grizzly bear Friday that had pulled a California woman from her tent and killed her earlier this week in the middle of a small Montana town.

The bear was shot by federal wildlife workers wearing night vision goggles shortly after midnight, when it approached a trap set near a chicken coop about 2 miles (3 kilometers) from Ovando, where Leah Davis Lokan, 65, of Chico, California, was killed early Tuesday morning, said Greg Lemon with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

The bear had raided the chicken coop overnight Wednesday, and officials set a baited trap nearby hoping to lure the animal back.

“Based on the size of the bear, the color of the bear and the nature of the chicken coop raids, we’re confident we’ve got the offending bear,” Lemon said.

On Thursday night, an Ovando woman came home and found her door ripped off and noticed large claw marks, Powell County Sheriff Gavin Roselles posted on Facebook. A short time later, the male grizzly bear was killed in the area.

Investigators gathered DNA evidence from the scene of the attack that killed Lokan and will compare it to samples gathered from the dead grizzly bear to be sure the bear that was killed was the one that attacked Lokan. The results could be available in the next three days.

Until then, Roselles said he would maintain the closure of outdoor campsites available in Ovando.

Lokan was an experienced outdoors woman and cyclist who was on a mountain biking trip. She and her party were camped by Ovando’s post office early Tuesday when she was attacked.

Friends said Lokan was a free spirit, competitive and adventuresome and was aware of the dangers she faced on the trip.

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