Pima County law enforcement officials have charged a man with first-degree murder. They found mountain lions snacking on the remains of his alleged victim.
Sheriff’s Department officers arrested Daylan Jacob Thornton on Wednesday for the murder. Authorities had been looking into the death of Steven Mark Brashear, 66, last December. Then they came across the hungry mountain lions in Pima Canyon near Tucson, Newsweek reported.
Mountain Lions Ate Victim
The Sheriff’s Department announced the arrest on its Facebook page. According to the statement, officers from the Fugitive Investigative Strike Force nabbed Thornton around 7:40 a.m.
“The arrest resulted from a long-term investigation conducted by the Pima County Sheriff’s Department’s homicide unit into the remains of 66-year-old Steven Mark Brashear, which was discovered in Pima Canyon last December,” the statement read. “Mr. Thornton was booked into the Pima County Adult Detention Center for first-degree murder, abandonment of a dead body, fraudulent schemes and artifices, theft of a credit card and taking the identity of another.”
Officials Provoke Outcry
Meanwhile, the Arizona Game and Fish Department chose to euthanize the mountain lions. Their decision provoked a public outcry.
Assistant Director of Wildlife Management Jim DeVos said the mountain lions refused to leave when deputies showed up to case the scene. That is unusual behavior for mountain lions.
DeVos says that the deputies held “a number of meetings” with people “directly involved with the scene.” He continues by adding: “We spent a tremendous amount of time working to make sure that our actions were justified. The fact of the matter is that being responsible doesn’t always mean acquiescing to public comment.”
DeVos said it’s also abnormal for mountain lions to eat human remains.
“It’s not that they’re afraid, they just don’t know us as normal food items,” he said. “The behaviors that they demonstrated were sufficiently aggressive and sufficiently serious that we thought it would be an irresponsible action on a public department to translocate the animals.”