|Ms. Bradley was attacked in the Elkmont section of the park while
hiking and waiting for her
former husband, Ralph Hill, who was fishing nearby. Ms. Bradley, an
experienced hiker, was attacked about 2 miles from the trailhead on the Little River Trail at, or near, the
intersection of the Goshen Prong Trail, an area she was familiar with. The
pair had entered the park about 12:00. At about 2:00 Mr. Hill had fished his
way out of sight. When he returned about an hour later he found her pack
located her body off the trail and two bears guarding the motionless body. Mr.
Hill and other hikers were unsuccessful in their attempts to drive the bears
away from the body.
reported the incident at Elkmont at about 5:00 and rangers were on the scene
at 6:00. Ranger soon located and killed a 112 pound female and her 40 pound
female yearling. The adult bear had been tagged for research purposes by a
University of Tennessee wildlife biologist in 1998 and had never been known to
show aggressive behavior towards humans.
preformed at the University of Tennessee confirmed that both bears the rangers
killed had fed on Ms. Bradley and were most likely the bears that had killed
her. The bears were not emaciated and the necropsies did not reveal any
underlying health issues with the bears that may have contributed to the
attack. This lead officials to believe the attack was a predatory.
autopsy was performed on Ms. Bradley by East Tennessee State University’s
College of Medicine which confirmed that Bradley died of blood loss from injuries due to
a bear attack. Her death was ruled an accident.