VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Canadian conservation officers have euthanized a black bear that ate the remains of a convicted murderer.
British Columbia Environment Minister Terry Lake said Monday the bear's description matched that of one seen guarding a cache that contained the remains of Rory Wagner, 54. Examinations of fur at the scene as well as teeth and claw marks confirmed the bear that was euthanized is the one that ate the remains.
Lake said the animal was put down because bears remember food sources.
Officials suspect the bear pulled Wagner's body from his car after he died on a remote logging road.
Wagner pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in 1994. He and two others were charged with a killing a man who they believed had sexually assaulted a family member. He served his prison time and was released.
Wagner, who was living in Kamloops, British Columbia, was reported missing May 23. Police said his death was not suspicious. Hunters found the site last week.
Regional coroner Mark Coleman said it is not yet known how Wagner died. Coleman said an autopsy showed the man was dead before the bear got him out of the car. Coleman said toxicology results to reveal how Wagner died would not be complete for several weeks.
Royal Canadian Mounted Poilce Sgt. Grant Learned said Wagner was on life parole and had been living in an approved facility in the city. He said Wagner had attended work May 21 and said he wouldn't be coming in to work in the following days.
When he failed to show up at his residence May 22, a warrant was issued for his arrest. His body was found shortly after.
"The degree of decomposition would suggest the body had been removed (from the car) after death," Learned said.
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