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Roy Horn Tiger Mauling Case Closed

Roy Horn of Siegfried and Roy performs with white tiger, 1-18-96
AP (file)
The tiger-was-hungry theory was ruled out. And there was no proof that the animal was deliberately provoked by someone in the audience, or that a terrorist sprayed it with a behavior-altering scent, or that it was unhinged by a woman with a beehive hairdo.

But federal investigators still do not know what led a Bengal tiger to attack illusionist Roy Horn of Siegfried & Roy during a performance nearly two years ago.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's final report — dated Sept. 28, and consisting of the Mirage hotel-casino's internal investigation, a Las Vegas police probe and witness statements — was obtained by The Associated Press through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The case was finally closed late last year with no official determination of what set off the animal, named Montecore.

The 380-pound white tiger sank its teeth into Horn's neck and dragged him off stage in front of a horrified audience Oct. 3, 2003, at the Mirage. The animal damaged an artery carrying oxygen to the magician's brain and crushed his windpipe.

The mauling that left Horn, 60, partially paralyzed and ended the long-running "Siegfried & Roy" production, one of the most successful shows in Las Vegas history.

"Detectives were unable to determine what caused Montecore to deviate" from the act, Las Vegas police said in its share of report.

In its comprehensive account of the mauling, the 233-page report said the nearly 7-year-old tiger did indeed attack Horn. Nowhere do investigators conclude the tiger was trying to aid the entertainer after it knocked him down — despite the claims of Horn and others that the animal was only helping him.

Investigators explored a variety of other theories that were advanced by the casino and others.

A veterinarian who examined Montecore after the mauling said the animal appeared normal, and the USDA report said the animal had been fed on schedule.