A 28-year-old man was found dead in a wooded area in north Texas Thursday—and authorities disagree over whether he was killed by a mountain lion. When the body of Christopher Allen Whiteley was found the day after he was reported missing in Lipan, population 430, the Hood County Sheriff's Office said the medical examiner had determined he was killed by a wild animal, possibly a mountain lion, ABC reports. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, however said Sunday that there was no "evidence of a predatory attack by a mountain lion at the location where the victim was found." There has never been a confirmed fatal cougar attack in Texas.
The department said a US Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services trapper reached the same conclusion, reports USA Today. "Fatal mountain lion attacks on people are extremely rare," the TPWD said. "In the past 100 years, there are fewer than 30 confirmed deaths due to mountain lion attacks nationwide." In a Facebook post, the sheriff's office said "it appears we have two conflicting reports from two agencies that are experts in their field." The sheriff's office said the investigation is continuing, but it is standing by the medical examiner's preliminary findings, which "rule out a suicide and a homicide on the death in question." CBS Dallas-Fort Worth reports that two days before Whiteley was found dead, a mountain lion sighting was confirmed in Dallas County, 100 miles away. (Read more mountain lion stories.)