A North Texas man who had gone missing was found dead and officials believe he was likely killed in a mountain lion attack. Christopher Whiteley, 28, was last seen on Wednesday and was later found dead. The mountain lion has not been located. A mountain lion was seen about 100 miles away in North Texas a little more than a week before the attack, but it is not known if this is the same mountain lion.
Here’s what you need to know.
Hood County Sheriff’s Office Said He Was Attacked by a Wild Animal, Likely a Mountain Lion
In a press release titled “Mountain Lion attack leaves man dead,” the Hood County Sheriff’s Office shared that a missing man was found dead a day after he was last seen.
Christopher Allen Whiteley, 28, was last seen in the early morning of Wednesday, December 2, Hood County officials noted. About 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 3, deputies responded to a call in Lipan, Texas, at the 15000 block of Howell Road. Whiteley’s body was found in the woods nearby.
Below is a map of the approximate location where the man was found.
For reference, this is about an hour’s drive or 56 to 61 miles west of Fort Worth, Texas, and about 87 to 92 miles from Dallas, Texas.
The Hood County Sheriff’s Office noted: “Whiteley’s body was sent to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy. The preliminary finds say he died from a wild animal attack, possibly a mountain lion.”
A governmental trapper with the USDA is trying to track the mountain lion, which has not yet been found. Lipan residents are asked to keep children and animals inside at night and be aware of their surroundings.
A Mountain Lion Was Seen in North Texas Just Days Before the Attack
A rare mountain lion was sighted in North Texas just days before the attack in the Rowlett region, KIRO 7 reported. Several residents said they saw the mountain lion walking along a dirt road. Stephanie Higgins and Logan Aduddell caught it on a trail camera on November 22. This was the first time a mountain lion had a documented appearance in Dallas County.
Another Rowlett resident said they saw the mountain lion walking past her car when she was sitting in her carport.
Chris Jackson of DFW Urban Wildlife told KIRO 7 that he found mountain lion tracks nearby and that the video appears to be a real mountain lion. He wrote about the confirmation on his website, noting:
I’ve been investigating Mountain Lion reports in the DFW metroplex since I first began this website way back in 2005. Over that time I have received hundreds of accounts about Mountain Lions sightings here in Dallas/Fort Worth… Most of the cases I looked into ended up as unresolved due to a lack of evidence. Those reports that did include evidence (pictures, tracks) almost always turned out to be Bobcats… The sighting in Rowlett was different.
Officials have not said if the mountain lion presumed to have killed Whiteley in Lipan, Texas, could be the same lion seen in Rowlett. The two cities are separated by a little more than 100 miles, according to Google Maps, although the exact location of the Rowlett sighting isn’t known.
DFW Urban Wildlife noted on Facebook that mountain lions can wander 500 miles or more.
Sheriff Roger Deeds said in the press release statement: “The safety of Hood County Citizens are my priority one, but please don’t interfere with the process of locating the animal and stay clear of the area being actively worked by officials”
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