LIPAN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department said Sunday it does not believe a mountain lion attack occurred at the spot in a rural North Texas area where a missing man was found dead.
The Hood County Sheriff's Office said authorities found a body in a wooded area near the 15000 block of Howell Road in Lipan, about 65 miles west of Fort Worth, earlier this week after a man was reported missing.
Authorities identified the man as Christopher Allen Whiteley, 28, and it was determined preliminarily at the Tarrant County Medical Examiner that he died from a wild animal attack. The sheriff's office believed the attack was possibly from a mountain lion.
However, in a statement to the Hood County Sheriff's Office, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department said experts investigated the scene where the body was found and did not find evidence of an attack by a mountain lion. The department also said it received the same conclusion from a U.S. Department of Agriculture wildlife services trapper.
"Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has no records of a confirmed fatal attack on a person by a mountain lion in Texas. Texas Parks and Wildlife also has no confirmed records of a mountain lion in Hood County," the department said. The department also called fatal mountain lion attacks "extremely rare."
The department also mentioned the recent sighting of a mountain lion in Rowlett but said it is considered to be unrelated to the Hood County incident.
"It appears we have two conflicting reports from two agencies that are experts in their fields," the sheriff's office said. "We stand behind the preliminary findings of the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office that rule out a suicide and a homicide on the death in question."
"Hood County Sheriff Roger Deeds always airs on the side of caution when it comes to the safety and well-being of the citizens of Hood County and will continue to alert them of any safety issue that may affect them," the sheriff's office added.
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