The black bear that last week fatally mauled an Arizona man who was building his dream home was neither rabid nor starving, perplexed officials found.
The beast was found to be in “good condition with no apparent signs of disease,” according to Arizona Game and Fish Department necropsy results released Wednesday.
“An examination of the stomach found human remains consistent with the injuries found in the victim,” AZGFD wildlife veterinarian Dr. Anne Justice-Allen ruled.
“Additionally, native vegetation and seeds were found inside the bear. The amount of body fat on the bear indicated it was in good nutritional condition.”
The male black bear — likely between 7- to 10-years-old and weighing 365 pounds — also tested negative for rabies.
The results only deepen the mystery into the aggressive attack last Friday on Steven Jackson, who was sitting at a picnic table sipping coffee on his wooded property in the Groom Creek when the bear launched its attack.
The animal dragged the 66-year-old about 75 feet down an embankment and began mauling Jackson, whose desperate screams alerted neighbors.
Neighbors tried to thwart the attack by honking and yelling, but the animal refused to let go until one local fired his rifle and killed the bear.
By that time, however, Jackson had already succumbed to what officials called “horrible injuries.”
Attacks by black bears — the only bear species found in Arizona — are highly rare.
Officials ultimately determined that the bear acted in an unprovoked predatory attack.
Jackson was remembered as “the happiest guy” who had a passion for the outdoors.
He had been visiting his patch of property in the Groom Creek area from Tucson to fulfill his dreams of building a home in a heavily wooded patch of wilderness, his family said.
Jackson was building the home with plans in mind to “grow old together” with his partner of 15 years Annie Cooke.
“This morning awoken to the aroma of coffee brewing in the air…yet there was no coffee… Almost Every morning, for 15 years, Steven would get up before me to start the coffee,” Cooke said on Facebook.
He would often come to me if I was still sleeping with a cup in hand and blow across the top of the cup to awaken me with a warm playful smile, “Good Morning Annie, coffee is brewed”….this pain is so consuming at times.
Neighbor David Montano told 12News Jackson spent hours working on his property and was always welcoming to passing community members.
“He was just the happiest guy. I mean it was like he had no problems in the world. He just only cared about making people happy and living a great life for himself,” Montano said.
“He was looking forward to enjoying the rest of his days in his favorite place in the whole world.