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TWRA euthanizes bear found near body of missing Blount Co. man

A black bear was euthanized after it was found near the body of a missing Blount County man.
Published: May. 4, 2021 at 9:16 PM EDT|Updated: May. 4, 2021 at 10:28 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - A bear was euthanized after it was found near the remains of a missing Blount County man.

Matt Cameron, a spokesperson for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, said the bear did not cause the man’s death. However, “A bear that has scavenged human remains may be a future inherent danger to public safety. Therefore, as a precautionary measure, the adult bear was euthanized,” said TWRA Black Bear Coordinator Dan Gibbs.

Officials said the adult black bear was found near the body of 46-year-old Spence Andrew Webb in Walland. Webb was reported missing April 12.

Investigators said the carcass of another black bear was also found near the body.

Both bears were taken to the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine to determine if they had consumed human remains.

According to BCSO, the Blount County Special Operations Response Team found the remains of 46-year-old Andrew Webb in a heavily wooded area off Fence Rail Gap Road on Friday.

Webb’s remains were identified through his dental records. Investigators said an autopsy was performed at the Knox County Regional Forensic Center, but a cause of death was not immediately determined. Foul play was not suspected.

Webb was originally reported missing after his family said they had not heard from him since April 12.

Deputies responded to a hit-and-run crash on East Alexander Parkway on April 20 involving Webb’s truck. The truck was later found on Fence Rail Gap Road, unoccupied.

Deputies searched the heavily wooded, mountainous terrain but did not immediately locate him. On Friday, members of BSORT were searching the area when they located his remains in a steep ravine off Fence Rail Gap Road.

Officials said the investigation is ongoing.

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