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Published: Tuesday, 5/2/2006

Traps removed from area where bear killed Ohio girl


CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - Wildlife officers removed the last trap from the recreation area where a 6-year-old girl from Clyde, Ohio, was killed and her mother and brother were seriously hurt in a bear attack last month, officials said yesterday.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency said it hasn't found any more bear activity in the campground in the Cherokee National Forest where the attack took place.

Officers set traps around a swimming hole where Elora Petrasek was playing April 13 before she was mauled by a black bear and her mother, Susan Cenkus, 45, and 2-year-old brother, Luke Cenkus, were seriously injured.

Luke Cenkus underwent surgery and has been released from Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga.

Susan Cenkus was recovering in stable and improving condition, a hospital spokesman said.

The U.S. Forest Service has indefinitely closed the campground and recreation area and several roads and trails in the vicinity, the wildlife agency said. The area is expected to remain closed until a forensic analysis on a previously trapped bear is completed and all baiting smells that could attract other bears are gone.

Final results from a necropsy on a bear captured three days after the attack are not expected before next week. Tests showed the bear, which was euthanized, did not have rabies. An examination of the bear's digestive system found no evidence of human remains or clothing, a University of Tennessee spokesman has said.

Additional studies to match the bear's DNA on fur samples collected from the victims and in the attack area were planned.

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