Maple Plain woman killed by black bear

RAINY LAKE, ONTARIO – A black bear attack in Canada has resulted in the death of a Maple Plain woman.

According to the Star Tribune, Catherine Sweatt-Mueller, 62, was staying with her parents in a cabin on Red Pine Island in Rainy Lake, about 10 miles northeast of International Falls, when the attack happened Sunday evening.

The Star Tribune reported that Sweatt-Mueller went outside when she heard her two dogs barking, but did not return, prompting her parents to call police, who found the yearling bear standing over her body and shot the animal.

It is unknown what might have cause the attack, but researchers at the University of Guelph in Ontario will perform an animal autopsy called a necropsy to determine if health problems called the abnormal behavior, according to the Star Tribune.

“The family is, of course, very devastated,” Davis told The Associated Press. “The officers on the scene were fairly devastated to deliver the news . . . We can’t believe a bear attacked a person.”

The Associated Press reports that fatal attacks by black bears occur about once a year in all of North America.

Sweatt-Mueller’s family is requesting privacy, according to the Star Tribune.

Maple Plain Mayor Julie Maas-Kusske posted about Sweatt-Mueller on social media, saying that she was in shock to learn of the news.

“I have known Cathy since I was a child,” Maas-Kusske wrote. “We were neighbors growing up. I babysat for her amazing children. Her husband took my senior portraits. She and her family were at my wedding. One of the last visits I had with Cathy she was sharing about the cabin and how much she enjoyed her time there. You won’t find a kinder soul than Cathy. She loved her family, her horses, and always had a kind word to say and a helping hand if you need one. My heart goes out to her precious family as they grieve her earthly loss and the incredible hole she leaves in this world and in our hearts.”

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