Sandoval Signpost


An independent monthly newspaper serving the community since 1988
  Public Safety

Bear attacks woman in Jemez Mountains

Signpost Staff

A Los Alamos woman is recovering after being attacked by a bear during a marathon run in the Jemez Mountains. Karen Williams was within a few miles of finishing the 26.2-mile course in the Valles Caldera National Preserve on June 18 and heading uphill in Redondo Meadows when the attack happened with virtually no warning.

“There was some sort of seep or pond or mucky area at the top of that little hill and when I topped it a bear was charging me,” she wrote in a Facebook posting. “She was about 15 feet away… I raised my arms and yelled ‘NO!’ then saw the cub. Then I was on my ass and being raked with claws and bitten. I cried out in pain and Mama bear did not like that so she hit me with a left hook and bit my neck and started to try to shake me.”

That’s when Williams said she rolled into a ball and played dead while the bear went to check on her cub, which was about thirty feet up a tree. The bears eventually left, but it would be more than half an hour by William’s reckoning before other runners came along, comforted her and went for help from aid stations on the marathon course.

The La Cueva Volunteer Fire Department responded, and a CareFlight helicopter based at Sandoval County Station 21 at Santa Ana Pueblo flew Williams to UNM Hospital where she was discharged 14 hours later. Williams described her injuries as a fractured eye socket from the bear’s left hook, missing parts of an eyebrow and eyelid, injuries to her left bicep and “a lot of punctures and lacerations.”

Williams Facebook post also thanked the dozens of people who came to her aid, the first responders and UNMH staff, and the Department of Game and Fish officers who helped her, and her husband after her release from the hospital.

Game officers found the bear and euthanized it under a state law that requires any wild animal that attacks a human be tested for rabies. The bear matched Williams’ description but also wore a GPS tracking device as part of a bear study, according to a news release from the department.

“Officers confirm the bear’s location at the time of the incident,” the release said. “Officers are confident they caught the right bear.”

The officers, however, were unable to find the sow’s three cubs and two days after the attack were still looking for them. If captured, they’ll be turned over to the New Mexico Wildlife Center in Española for care.

The department’s advice for bear encounters includes backing away quietly if the bear hasn’t seen you, not running if the bear does see you but making yourself appear large by for example holding out your jacket, and if attacked to fight with anything available—rocks, sticks, ever bare hands—aiming for the bear’s nose and eyes. Another recommendation is never to get between a mother bear and her cubs.

Investigation of shooting continues

The Rio Rancho Police Department is continuing to investigate the reported shooting of a five-year-old child at a home in Rio Rancho. The shooting occurred on April 28, when a five year old male was struck in the shoulder by a bullet from a handgun. The injury to the child is not life threatening. No charges have been filed at this time, as investigators continue to determine details regarding the incident. Because children are involved, the interview process differs quite substantially from that of adults. Parents should ensure that firearms are not accessible to children. Criminal penalties can apply to parents who allow children access to guns. Specific details concerning gun safety can be found online through McGruff the Crime Dog and the Eddie Eagle Gun Safe Program. As a general rule, advise children to follow these steps should they encounter a gun: 1. Stop. 2. Don’t touch. 3. Get away. 4. Tell an adult.

Sandoval County deputies practice tactical plan to respond to abduction case challenges

Sheriff’s office leads multi-agency mock child abduction scenario

—Sidney Hill

Over the past year, the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) has been working with Cochiti Pueblo, creating a missing persons protocol and tactical plan in response to child abduction cases. The Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office hosted a Mock Missing Child Scenario Exercise recently. Participants included agents and victim advocates from the FBI, agents from the US Marshals, Officers from the BIA, Santa Ana Pueblo Police, New Mexico State Police, Rio Rancho Police Department, Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, and representatives from Cochiti Pueblo, Santo Domingo Pueblo, and Zia Pueblo.

The exercise was as realistic as possible to test participants’ ability to adapt and respond to the challenges that might be encountered during an actual abduction. Sheriff Doug Wood believes that this first Mock Scenario Exercise was an invaluable learning tool in helping to bring together many agencies and resources that are needed to have the best possible outcome in an actual abduction.

Coronado Historic Site hosts benefit for Wanagi Wolf Rescue

On July 17, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., Wanagi Wolf Fund and Rescue (WWFR) will be hosting a wolf benefit at the Coronado Historic Site, located at 484 Kuaua Road in Bernalillo. Admission is free for New Mexico residents. Big Brothers/Big Sisters of New Mexico will also be there to collect clothing and accessories, with all proceeds benefitting the WWFR.

The public is invited to meet “Milagro,” “Angel,” and “Bindi,” the Wanagi Wolf Rescue Ambassadors, to learn about wolves and wolf-dogs. You can have your photo taken with the WWFR Ambassadors for a small donation. Support for WWFR will be made available with the purchase of wolf-fur-filled ornaments, locally made pewter jewelry, photo cards, car magnets, and other items. The organization welcomes donations of toys and stuffed animals.

For more information, go to:

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