Coroner concludes woman killed by lion in California died of broken neck (VIDEO)


Lion Joco lies in his enclosure at Zoopark in†Erfurt, Germany, on February 14, 2013. He was born with squinting eyes last year at the Hanover Zoo.

The Fresno County coroner said on March 7th that a broken neck killed California wildlife sanctuary volunteer Dianna Hanson, who was attacked by a lion while performing her work duties.

Coroner David Hadden told CBS47 that the March 7th autopsy concluded Hanson died of neck injuries, while adding that there was a "theory that the lion was using the body as a toy."

Read more from GlobalPost: Father of intern Dianna Hanson had a "premonition"

Hanson died instantly of her injuries, while the 4-year-old male lion who attacked her was shot in an effort to give up the body, says ABC News. The lion's body is currently being examined for additional clues in the fatal attack.

"The lion had been fed, the young woman was cleaning the large enclosure, and the lion was in the small cage. The gate of the cage was partially open, which allowed the lion to lift it up with his paw," said Hadden of the incident to CBS. "He ran at the young lady."

"We want to assure the community that we have followed all safety protocols," said Project Survival Cat Haven owner to CBS News. "We have been incident-free since 1998 when we opened."

"Everything is off kilter now. It's not balanced. Where before he was here, and so now that everything is not the same, it's upsetting," said Anderson to local CBS news affiliate CBS47 of the incident and the cat's death, adding that "It's hard in these situations cause we have a dear friend that we lost and one of my friends, cats."