Archive for Sunday, April 16, 2006

Traps empty in search for bear that killed girl

April 16, 2006

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— A popular mountaintop campground remained closed Saturday as officials searched for signs of the black bear that killed a 6-year-old girl near a swimming hole.

Officers detected some "bear activity" around the traps and snares that were rigged Friday in the remote Cherokee National Forest Chilhowee Recreation Area, said Sharon Moore, a U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman.

If any bears are trapped, a comparison with hairs shed during the attack will identify the responsible animal, Moore said.

Authorities have closed all roads and trails leading into the recreation area.

The girl's 2-year-old brother was in fair condition but their mother remained in critical condition, hospital officials said Saturday. Doctors said they expected both to recover.

The bear attacked Elora Petrasek on Thursday afternoon as she and her family were leaving a waterfall pool on a rugged, 1,800-foot-high mountaintop, about 10 miles from the nearest highway.

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