The reason for a cougar attack in May near North Bend which left one man dead and another injured remains a mystery after an autopsy revealed the animal had no sign of disease. Photo from publicdomainpictures.net

The reason for a cougar attack in May near North Bend which left one man dead and another injured remains a mystery after an autopsy revealed the animal had no sign of disease. Photo from publicdomainpictures.net

Killer North Bend cougar showed no signs of disease

Autopsy sheds no light on why a cougar attacked near North Bend leaving one dead.

  • Saturday, July 21, 2018 8:30am
  • News

An autopsy report shows no evidence of disease in a cougar that killed one cyclist and injured another near North Bend in May.

The 104 pound adult male cougar was shot twice and killed by state Department of Fish and Wildlife officers and sent to various labs for testing, which showed no signs of disease, including rabies, which would have contributed to abnormal behavior and increased aggression. The 3-year-old cougar was underweight but still within a normal range. Fish and Wildlife veterinarian Dr. Kristin Mansfield said in a press release that the examination found no reason why the cougar attacked two cyclists on May 19.

The cougar was killed after it attacked 32-year-old Sonja J. Brooks who was an inclusion activist and active member of the Seattle bicycling community. Her 31-year-old biking companion, Isaac Sederbaum, was also attacked by the cougar as they rode in the forest near North Bend.

The pair saw a cougar chasing them and attempted to scare off the cat by making noise and striking the cougar with a bike, which caused it to run off. However, when the two tried to ride away the cougar ambushed them, jumping on Sederbaum and shaking him around while his whole head was in the animal’s mouth. Brooks tried to escape but the cougar dropped Sederbaum and chased the running hiker.

Sederbaum escaped on his bike and began pedalling away, riding for around two miles until he came into cell phone reception and called for help. Sederbaum was treated on the scene and taken to Harborview Medical Center. Deputies with the state’s Fish and Wildlife department later found Brooks’ body in the cougars den. The animal was subsequently shot and sent to be tested at the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at Washington State University.

Cougar attacks on humans are rare and it remains a mystery why the animal attacked the bikers as cougars are generally shy animals that prefer to hunt smaller animals such as deer, rabbits and goats. It is the first time a cougar has killed a human in Washington state since 1924.

Officials said the victims did everything right as they tried to defend themselves from the attack. Wildlife officials also encourage those entering wilderness to carry bear spray, a strong form of pepper spray which can be easier to use than firearms.

More in News

Kailan Manandic / staff photo 
                                The Mercerdale Park remains free of development as the city and MICA focuses on a new location at the former Tully’s Coffee site.
City council to terminate plans for Mercerdale development

The city directed staff to seek mutual termination of a 2016 MOU to develop within Mercerdale Park.

Kailan Manandic / staff photo 
                                The city council took a preliminary step toward developing a fiscal sustainability plan at the April 16 meeting.
City council reviewed fiscal sustainability plan options

Currently, city staff are examining the options to determine what is feasible for the city.

April 2019 special election preliminary results

LWSD levy passing; Fall City fire merger and hospital bond coming up short.

Foundations covering counselor costs

Announcement comes in wake of Prop. 1 loss last November.

Photo courtesy of Snoqualmie Valley Education Association Facebook page
                                Eastside educators were appalled over an amendment made to SB 5313. The effects could have reduced teacher compensation and limited bargaining abilities. The bill recently died.
Late night Senate amendments shock local teachers

An amendment to SB 5313 prompted teacher unions to voice concerns.

Kailan Manandic/staff photo
                                Officials break ground outside Salt House Church for the Eastside’s first permanent women and family shelter. Workers hope to complete construction in 2020.
Eastside’s first permanent shelter breaks ground in Kirkland

The shelter will serve single women and families with children who are experiencing homelessness.

Candidate workshop set for April 24

In-person candidate filing starts May 13.

Sound Transit crews are nearly finished with the Mercer Island Station as the East Link project hits 50 percent completion. The station will be one of 10 between Seattle and Redmond served by the Blue Line in 2023. Kailan Manandic / staff photo
East Link hits 50 percent milestone: Blue Line to open in 2023

Sound Transit crews celebrated the 50 percent completion of East Link this month.

Most Read