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Lion Suspected of Killing San Diego Woman Is Slain

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The campgrounds at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park will remain closed until rangers determine whether a mountain lion shot to death Saturday night is the same big cat that apparently killed a San Diego woman earlier that day.

“We don’t want to open the park and find out this was not the right lion,” said Homer Townsend, a chief ranger with the state Department of Parks and Recreation.

Department of Fish and Game trackers late Saturday shot and killed a mountain lion near the hiking trail where a woman’s mauled body was found around noon.

She was identified by the county medical examiner as Iris Kenna, 58, a San Diego high school teacher. Townsend said Kenna was an inveterate birdwatcher who frequently went to the park in the Cleveland National Forest 50 miles east of downtown San Diego.

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Autopsy results are pending. If Kenna died in such an attack, she would be the fourth person killed by a mountain lion in California since record-keeping began early in the century.

Mountain lions are solitary and territorial animals and do not often stray into another lion’s hunting area. For that reason, trackers are confident that the German shepherd-sized lion shot Saturday was the one that clawed and mauled Kenna.

A necropsy will include tests to see if there is human blood on the animal’s claws and teeth.

Kenna’s body was found about 50 feet off Cuyamaca Fire Peak Road, a trail frequently used by hikers. Investigators speculated that she may have tried to run from the lion and was chased and caught from behind.

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