Man dies after possible mountain lion attack in Hood County

The highly unusual death of a man is under investigation in Hood County, southwest of Fort Worth. It has many people worried and asking questions.

The body of Christopher Allen Whiteley was found this past Thursday near the 15000 block of Howell Road in Lipan.

The 28-year-old hadn’t been seen since the day before and had been reported missing. Investigators later found him in a wooded area after a search.

A preliminary autopsy ruled out homicide in the case. Instead, the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office determined Whiteley died as a result of an attack from a wild animal, possibly a mountain lion.

Game wardens were called in to help find the animal that may have attacked Whiteley.

But Texas Parks and Wildlife is questioning the claim, arguing there is no evidence to support it and no record of mountain lions in Hood County. The department also said mountain lion attacks are rare.

"Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is aware of this tragic loss of life and has provided assistance to the sheriff’s office in evaluating the circumstances and information available.Texas Game Wardens, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department biologists, and subject matter experts conducted an inspection of the scene. There is not any evidence of a predatory attack by a mountain lion at the location where the victim was found," the department said in a statement.

Investigators are still waiting on the final autopsy report.

In the meantime, the sheriff’s office is choosing to stand by the initial report and people who live nearby are being told to keep an eye on their pets.