Sheriff: Ohio farm owner killed self, was bitten

By Kantele Franko

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Oct. 20 2011 8:26 a.m. MDT

A sign warning motorists that exotic animals are on the loose rests on I-70 Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011, near Zanesville, Ohio. Police with assault rifles stalked a mountain lion, grizzly bear and monkey still on the loose after authorities said their owner apparently freed dozens of wild animals and then killed himself.

Tony Dejak, Associated Press

ZANESVILLE, Ohio — An Ohio sheriff says a coroner has confirmed that the owner of an exotic animal farm died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound and then was bitten.

Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz said at a news conference Thursday that the autopsy showed farm owner Terry Thompson had a bite wound on the head that appeared to have come from a large cat, such as a Bengal tiger.

Lutz says it appears the bite occurred quickly after Thompson shot himself.

Authorities say Thompson released his more than 50 animals before killing himself on Tuesday. Dozens of escaped tigers, lions and other beasts were shot by officers.

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