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American woman identified as victim of bear attack on remote Ontario island

Last Updated Sep 4, 2019 at 5:40 pm EDT

An American woman has been identified as the victim of a bear attack on a remote island in northwestern Ontario.

Provincial police have named her as Catherine Sweatt-Mueller of Maple Plain, Minn. She was 62 years old.

Police responded on Sunday to a report of a bear attack on Red Pine Island in Rainy Lake.

Apparently, Sweatt-Mueller had gone to check on her dogs and did not return.

Officers found her body near a bear, which they killed.

The Minnesota Star Tribune said Sweatt-Mueller was at the cabin for a family reunion and had gone outside when she heard her two dogs barking about 6 p.m. Sunday. The dogs, one of them injured, eventually returned to the cabin, but she didn’t. Her parents, both in their 80s, called police.

The heavily wooded island is in Canadian waters, a few hundred metres north of the international border that divides Rainy Lake.

Officers searched the area and found a yearling bear standing over the woman’s body and shot it. Another yearling and a sow were nearby in the brush, acting aggressively by making noises with their mouths and stomping, police said.

The bear that was killed was to be sent to the University of Guelph for a necropsy — an animal autopsy — to determine if any health issues caused what officials said was abnormal behaviour.

In a statement, Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources said it was leading a search to find the other two bears.