Montana Camper Initially Escaped Grizzly Bear Attack Only to Be Killed in Her Sleep

by Amy Myers

In a truly tragic incident, a Montana camper and retired nurse lost her life in a grizzly bear attack just one hour after she scared the animal away, so says the recently released report.

California-native Leah Davis Lokan, 65, was on a multi-day bicycling trip through Ovanda, Montana on July 6 last year when she encountered a grizzly bear. According to the 26-page report from the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, released earlier this month, Lokan had successfully chased the bear away. At the time, the retired nurse was traveling with her sister and a close friend. While the sister chose to stay in a local hotel, Lokan continued with the plan to sleep in her tent behind the Ovando Brand Bar Museum.

At around 3 in the morning, Lokan heard the ominous “huff” of a 417-pound beast outside her tent. Immediately, she alerted the couple sleeping in the tent beside hers, Joe and Kim Cole, who helped her scare the animal away by making loud noises. The tactic worked at the moment, but apparently, it didn’t keep the grizzly bear away for very long. Once the bear left the area, Lokan removed the food from her tent and kept her bear spray close to her.

The Coles even suggested that the retired nurse stay in the hotel with her sister for the rest of the night, but Lokan declined and promptly went back to sleep.

Grizzly Bear Killed Californian Camper Instantly, Blueberry Bags May Have Attracted Animal Back to Area

Roughly an hour after she scared the bear away, the animal had returned. The Coles remembered awaking to the sounds of what they suspected was the bear attacking Lokan. They stated that they could not hear the fellow camper make any noises herself.

Jay Cole witnessed the grizzly bear “pouncing up and down” on Lokan and her tent and tried to scare it away, roaring and deploying his own can of bear spray. This technique proved effective, and the bear soon left the area. Unfortunately, it was too late for Lokan.

The report concluded that the bear had dragged Lokan and her tent 8 to 10 feet. She suffered a broken neck and severed spine, both of which killed her instantly. She also sustained quite a few bite and claw marks throughout her body.

While Lokan removed the two bags of snacks from her tent, investigators later found that she still had dried blueberry bags with her. The bags held toiletries but still had a recognizable fruity scent, which could have been what re-attracted the bear to the area. Officials also found that Lokan’s bike satchels, also close to her camp, were full of food, too.

Meanwhile, the grizzly bear did not bother the Coles’ tent. According to the report, the couple didn’t have any food or attractants in their tent.