Thunder Bay

Minnesota woman identified as victim in fatal bear attack on Rainy Lake

OPP have identified a Minnesota woman as the victim in Monday's fatal bear attack on an island on Rainy Lake.
OPP have identified the victim in Monday's fatal bear attack on Rainy Lake as Catherine Sweatt-Mueller of Maple Plain, Minnesota. (CBC)

Ontario Provincial Police have identified a Minnesota woman as the victim in Sunday's fatal bear attack on an island on Rainy Lake.

Catherine Sweatt-Mueller, 62, of Maple Plain, Minn., was attacked by a black bear on Red Pine Island, according to the OPP. Police identified Sweatt-Mueller as the victim on Wednesday.

Rainy River OPP were called shortly after 6:30 p.m. Sunday by the victim's mother, who told officers she believed Sweatt-Mueller had been attacked by a bear after she had gone to check on her dogs, and didn't return.

Officers investigated, and found Sweatt-Mueller deceased, and in close proximity to a bear. The bear was shot and killed by police.

There were two other bears at the scene. Police later said they believed they were yearlings, and were threatening toward the officers.

On Wednesday, a Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry spokesperson said a search for other bears on the island was underway.

Red Pine Island, OPP said, is secluded, with no other residences on it. It's located near the Canada-U.S. border, about 320 kilometres west of Thunder Bay.

Police said there is no significant risk to public safety.