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Sheriff: Woman killed by lion left door open

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 25, 2013 at 8:45 pm •  Published: April 25, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Authorities in Central California said Thursday that a volunteer worker killed in a lion attack at an animal park accidentally caused her own death by leaving the animal's door open.

Fresno County Sheriff's Capt. Steve Wilkins said that his office has closed its investigation of Dianna Hanson's death by determining it was an "unfortunate accident."

"We've determined that it was an accident and there was no criminal liability toward the park's owner," Wilkins said. "Based on the results of the investigation, it was an accident."

Wilkins said Hanson, a 24-year-old intern at Cat Haven, failed to secure the door to a feeding cage where the lion was sitting while she cleaned an adjacent closure.

Hanson's family had been kept in the loop as the sheriff's office probe was taking place, Wilkins said. They were notified quickly when the investigation was completed, the sheriff's captain said.

"She accidentally left the door open. It was an unfortunate accident," Wilkins added. "The case is closed."

A 550-pound Barbary lion named Cous Cous escaped from the partially closed feeding cage on March 6 and struck Hanson, who died immediately from a broken neck, according to the coroner's autopsy report.

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