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Investigators: Girl Was Not Camping During Bear Attack

MESA COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) - The Mesa County Sheriff's Office say they've finished their investigation into a bear attack involving a 5-year-old girl on Sunday.

The bear attacked the girl in her backyard early that morning. She was sent to the hospital and is expected to be okay.

A picture of the bear's paw after it was shot and killed (credit: Colorado Parks and Wildlife)

On Tuesday, investigators say the family went to bed around 1:30 a.m. after they waited for the father to come home from a trip. An hour later, investigators say the girl heard what she thought was her dog "throwing a fit," and went outside to check on it.

That's when deputies say the girl sat by the back door and the bear came from the front of the house and sniffed her. The girl got up to go back inside and that's when the bear attacked.

The girl's mother woke up to hear screaming and went outside to find her daughter being attacked. The mother screamed, and the bear dropped the girl and ran away.

Investigators say no charges are being sought against the family.

Grand Junction Bear Attack 1 (kroschel)
A bear attack occurred along D Road in the East Orchard Mesa neighborhood just outside the Grand Junction city limits. (credit: CBS4)

The girl's father first thought his daughter was camping outside in the backyard before the attack, which is what he told 911 dispatchers:

911 Dispatch: "Do you have any other children, sir?"

Father: "Yes, I've got two other kids that are ours and then we have a few grandkids here."

911 Dispatch: "Were they all outside or just her?"

Father: "Just her. She's the only girl. All the rest are boys."

911 Dispatch: "Oh, my goodness. She was out camping by herself. Right on, good for her."

He later told deputies that was incorrect.

The sheriff's office says the parent's actions were not criminal or negligent.

The bear, which wildlife officials are confident is the one that attacked the girl, was shot and killed on Monday.

LINK: Colorado Parks & Wildlife "Be Bear Aware" Section

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