The search for a missing man in Alaska ended Wednesday when he was found dead in the woods, likely because of a bear attack, reports Fox News. Michael Soltis, 44, last was seen Monday evening in the area of Hiland Road in Anchorage where police say he went for a hike.
At approximately 10:32 am Wednesday, a volunteer searching for Soltis was attacked by a brown bear near the same area last he was seen. The unidentified volunteer was taken to a hospital and is expected to survive. Shortly after that attack, Anchorage police entered the woods where they located Soltis who they say died as a result of a bear attack.
“It appears the brown bear was protecting the body when it attacked a member of the search party,” police said in a statement.
The animal was not immediately found, and authorities were asking people to stay away from the wooded area. Biologists with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game searched for the animal earlier on Wednesday. As of 4 p.m., no one was in the field but biologists were putting together a plan for what to do next, said department spokesman Ken Marsh.
“We believe the bear that attacked the volunteer was the one that attacked and killed the missing man,” police spokesman MJ Thim said.
Alaska Fish and Game spokesman Ken Marsh said agency representatives were investigating at the site to determine whether the bear attack was predatory or a defensive action, such as guarding bear cubs or a food cache like a dead moose.