Troopers: Wasilla woman appears to have been killed by moose
Last updated at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 4
A Wasilla woman who was found dead in her front yard Sunday afternoon appears to have been attacked by a moose, according to Alaska State Troopers. The State Medical Examiner later determined she died of natural causes, but troopers noted her body showed signs of trauma.
Troopers said there were no witnesses to the death of 74-year-old Pattie Cucinello. A relative discovered her body in front of her Settler’s Bay home on Timberview Drive just after 3 p.m. on Sunday.
There were signs of a struggle and moose tracks nearby, according to Melody Smith, a woman who identified Cucinello as her best friend. Smith said Cucinello had been gardening in her front yard when the attack happened.
“You could drive by any time of day, usually she would be out here kneeling and picking and just playing in her gardens,” Smith said. “She was getting her garden ready for winter.”
Smith said troopers told her it’s possible Cucinello got between a cow and a calf, possibly the same animals that Smith said had been spotted in the neighborhood recently.
Ken Marsh, a spokesman for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, said he couldn’t comment on the attack but said moose can be very aggressive this time of year.
“They’re in the rut right now and both bulls and cows can be aggressive because of that,” Marsh said. “Cows this time of year, when they are in the breeding mode, kind of run off their partially grown calves and those guys can weigh up to 300 pounds or so this time of year. And that can make even those calves get kind of aggressive.”
AST spokeswoman Megan Peters said Tuesday that Cucinello’s death was not related to a moose attack, but would not elaborate on the cause of her death or the circumstances of the injuries to her body.
Marsh said there have been at least two other fatal moose attacks in the Anchorage area. One in 1993 when a woman was found dead in her backyard, and another that occurred on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus in 1995.
Troopers said they are not currently looking for the moose involved.
Correction: An earlier version of this report incorrectly stated the second fatal moose attack occurred in 1993. This has been amended.
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