Girl, 12, describes mauling by bear

Abby Wetherell suffered deep cuts on her back.
Abby Wetherell suffered deep cuts on her back.

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Struggling to escape a black bear that was mauling her on a dirt trail in northern Michigan, 12-year-old Abby Wetherell feared the worst.

‘‘I was just thinking, ‘This is it, I’m not going to live, I’m going to die right here,’ ’’ Abby said in an interview Monday from her home, where she was recovering from deep cuts to her left thigh and back. ‘‘I was really worried about my family, to think they would find me like that.’’

The seventh-grader was attacked as she jogged at dusk Thursday near her grandfather’s cabin, about 200 miles northwest of Detroit.


The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has set traps, hoping to capture and euthanize the animal so it can be tested for diseases.

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On Saturday night, DNR officers killed a 330-pound bear about 2 miles away after a man shot and wounded it. The carcass was sent to a lab in Lansing to see if its DNA matches fur and saliva samples taken from Abby’s clothing, though paw prints where she was attacked suggest that bear might have been smaller.

Wildlife experts do not know what caused the attack.

Abby recalled hearing that playing dead might stop a bear attack. DNR officials say fighting back is a better tactic, but in this case her strategy may have paid off. ‘‘It kept looking back at me, but then it just ran off,’’ she said.

Associated Press