Park officials shoot, kill bear found near Tennessee man's body

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn, (WVLT) -- The Great Smoky Mountain National Park Service announced that the bear found near the body of a Tennessee man was shot and killed this morning.

Earlier this week, officials said they were looking for a "clean shot to be taken to humanely euthanize it." The bear was tagged with a GPS tracking device after finding it near the body of a ginseng poacher.

Tuesday, searchers found the body of William Lee Hill, Jr., 30, off Rich Mountain Road, about two miles away from Cades Cove. Hill and his companion, Joshua Morgan, came to the park last Friday to look for ginseng, but were separated.

After gathering evidence, the park made the decision to euthanize the bear. As of Friday, the park service was still looking for the bear. They said the bear must be euthanized out of "concern for the public safety."

On Sunday afternoon, officials announced that park officials shot and killed the bear at 9:45 a.m.

Park officials said the incident remains under investigation and offered no more details.

Taking ginseng from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is illegal.