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Black Bear Grabs, Kills Infant in N.Y.

THE NATION

August 20, 2002|From Associated Press

FALLSBURG, N.Y. — A bear killed a 5-month-old girl Monday after knocking her out of a stroller and dragging her into the woods, police said.

The baby had been in her stroller near the porch of a vacation bungalow with family members when the black bear approached, said Fallsburg Police Chief Brent Lawrence.

The mother hurried her two other children inside, Lawrence said. When she came back for the baby, it was gone.

Witnesses told police the young bear had the infant, Ester Schwimmer, in its mouth as it ambled into dense woods 20 feet from the family's Catskills' bungalow.

"It may be the first season that it may have been on its own, and it may very well have perceived this infant as a food source," Lawrence said.

Isaac Abraham, another vacationer, said people desperately tried to save the little girl.

"People started chasing the bear, throwing rocks at it," he said.

The bear dropped the infant, but she had severe injuries to her head and neck, and was pronounced dead at a hospital, Lawrence said.

Officers with the Department of Environmental Conservation and local police tracked the bear into the woods and shot it.

Ward Stone, the state's chief wildlife pathologist, said it was the first time he could remember a black bear killing a human.

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