The Associated Press
DUNLAP, Calif. — The Fresno County coroner’s office says a lion used its paw to lift a partially open door and escape a smaller cage before attacking and killing a 24-year-old woman cleaning a larger enclosure.
Coroner David Hadden said Thursday the investigators told him that the 5-year-old African lion had been fed when he charged at Dianna Hanson, breaking her neck and killing her with an apparent swipe of its paw.
Authorities say Hanson was on the phone with a co-worker in the moments before she was killed. Hadden said the co-worker became concerned when the conversation ended abruptly and Hanson failed to call back.
Federal, state and local agencies have been investigating how the 550-pound lion and Hanson ended up in the same enclosure Wednesday afternoon at Cat Haven, which is located about 45 miles east of Fresno.
Hanson had told her father she wasn’t allowed in the enclosure when lions were present and Cat Haven owner Dale Anderson said he was the only employee allowed in the enclosure with lions present.