This Oct. 12, 2012 photo released by JP Marketing shows a 4-year-old male African lion named Couscous at Cat Haven, a private wild animal park in Dunlap, Calif. Authorities say the lion killed a female intern-volunteer on Wednesday, March 6, 2013, at Cat Haven, where the cat had been raised since it was a cub. The intern was attacked and fatally injured after getting into an enclosure with the lion, Fresno County sheriff's Sgt. Greg Collins said. (AP Photo/JP Marketing, Vicken Massoyan)
FRESNO, Calif. —
The Fresno County Sheriff's Department has concluded that a volunteer who was killed by a lion at a Central California animal park accidentally caused her own death by failing to secure the door to a feeding cage where the lion was sitting while she cleaned an adjacent enclosure.
Capt. Steve Wilkins said Thursday that his office has closed its investigation of 24-year-old Dianna Hanson's death after determining it was an "unfortunate accident."
A 550-pound Barbary lion named Cous Cous escaped from the partially closed feeding cage on March 6 and killed Hanson.
Sheriff's deputies shot the lion after it couldn't be coaxed away from Hanson's body.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently found that Cat Haven, the wild animal park where the incident occurred, had proper safety procedures in place for feeding the animals and cleaning the enclosures.
Watchdogs are questioning an exclusive agreement between the City of Oakland and a non-profit group, tapped to lead a multi-million dollar project to redevelop the area around the Coliseum BART station.