Page last updated at 00:56 GMT, Saturday, 13 March 2010

Alaska wolves 'killed' US teacher out jogging

Candice Berner on school outing
Colleagues said Candice Berner was determined to experience Alaska

Wolves in Alaska are suspected of killing a teacher in an isolated village while she was out jogging.

An autopsy has revealed that Candice Berner, 32, died of injuries sustained in an animal attack, officials said.

Her body was dragged off a rural road, leaving a bloody track, into the nearby bush and was surrounded by wolf tracks.

Police said wolves in the area had been aggressive recently. If confirmed, it is believed to be the first fatal wolf attack in the US in 50 years.

There were wolf tracks all around the body
Col Audie Holloway
Alaska State Troopers

The Alaska State Medical Examiner said Ms Berner's cause of death was "multiple injuries due to animal mauling".

Her body was found on Monday evening by snowmobilers after she was last seen that afternoon at her school in Chignik Lake, a community of about 100 people 474 miles (760km) south of Anchorage.

Col Audie Holloway, of the Alaska State Troopers, said: "There's no other carnivores in that area that are out and active.

"There were wolf tracks all around the body, and drag marks associated with those tracks."

"From the number of prints at the scene, we're thinking there probably were, possibly, two, three, maybe four [wolves]," he added.

Generic pic of wolf
Wolves are generally very timid around humans

Ms Berner - who had been training for long-distance running - moved to Alaska from Pennsylvania in August.

She was working as a special needs teacher in Chignik Lake.

The community had recently been on alert for wolves on the prowl nearby, said Johnny Lind, president of the village council.

In the last week, school children were being accompanied to school and armed snowmobile patrols had been on the lookout for the animals, he said.

"It's obvious. Goodness. It's obvious," said Mr Lind, referring to suspicion of wolves' involvement in Ms Berner's death.

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