Necropsy of mountain lion confirms Colorado trail runner’s story he strangled, bludgeoned cat to death

KIRK MITCHELL | The Denver Post
Travis Kauffman responds to questions during a news conference Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019, in Fort Collins, Colo., about his encounter with a mountain lion while running a trail just west of Fort Collins last week. Kaufman's girlfriend, Annie Bierbower, looks on. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski

A trail runner who killed a young mountain lion in the foothills west of Fort Collins last month strangled and bludgeoned the cat to death, a necropsy confirms.

“Necropsy findings suggest blunt trauma to the head, and also support the victim’s description of strangulation based on petechial hemorrhages to larynx and trachea,” the document released Thursday says.

The mountain lion attacked 31-year-old long-distance runner Travis Kauffman from behind sometime after noon on Feb. 4 on the West Ridge Trial on Horsetooth Mountain. Kauffman said he picked up a large rock and pummeled the lion in the back of the head. He then choked the cat to death with his hands, arms and feet after it bit and clawed him in the face and on his body.

The laryngeal cartilages and trachea were covered with petechial hemorrhages, supporting a determination of strangulation, the necropsy says. The cat’s face was stained with blood around the nose and mouth and the head had numerous abrasions and bruising, the necropsy says. The animal’s brain had mild reddening. Its eyes also had petechial hemorrhages.

Read the full story via The Denver Post.

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