Large ball prevented pen from closing when lion killed intern at North Carolina animal preserve

/ CBS/AP

Lion kills intern at N.C. animal refuge

Burlington, N.C. — An autopsy report says an intern at a North Carolina animal preserve was killed by a lion whose pen wasn't properly closed. WRAL-TV reports authorities were told the lion was able to enter the same space as 22-year-old Alex Black because a large ball prevented the lion's pen from closing.

Black was attacked by the lion named Matthai at Conservators Center in Caswell County in December, and the report says she died from significant blood loss. Responding authorities killed the lion.

The report says trainer Ashley Watts told authorities the lion had been locked in a pen within a larger enclosure, but the pen's gate was blocked by the ball. Watts said she tried to separate Matthai and Black by closing the pen, but the lion pulled Black into the enclosure.

The Caswell County Sheriff's Office said deputies arrived on the scene and shot and killed the lion after several attempts to tranquilize it or hold it at bay with fire hoses.

"The stress level was high," Sheriff Tony Durden told WRAL-TV at the time. "I know they're not used to having a 600-pound animal. And then having a young lady laying on the ground, so, you know, stress."

Black's family said she had been working at the conservatory for 10 days and it was the fourth internship in her young career.

"She was a beautiful young woman who had just started her career, there was a terrible accident, and we are mourning. But she died following her passion," her family said in a statement to CBS News.

The Conservators Center is home to 80 animals of 21 different species, including 15 lions, many of which were rescued from poor living conditions in Ohio in 2004, according to its website. The site described Matthai as "a little nervous by nature" but "an enthusiastic recipient of attention from the people he knows best."

First published on February 20, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Report sheds light on how lion killed intern at N.C. preserve

Authorities were told the lion was able to enter the same space as 22-year-old Alex Black because a large ball prevented the lion's pen from closing

18M ago

Judge grants Cohen's request to delay prison sentence

His lawyers had cited a recent shoulder surgery and congressional testimony as reasons to postpone his surrender date

27M ago

What to know about China's Huawei – and its battle with the U.S

The U.S. government accuses the Chinese tech giant of corporate espionage; American courts are set to weigh in

1H ago

What parents should know before sharing about kids online

A child's online footprint can begin before they are even born – starting when parents upload sonograms to social media

1H ago

Here's how to watch the 91st Academy Awards

All of Hollywood's elite will descend on LA's Dolby Theatre Sunday night for the biggest cinema awards event of the year

1H ago

Judge grants Cohen's request to delay prison sentence

His lawyers had cited a recent shoulder surgery and congressional testimony as reasons to postpone his surrender date

27M ago

Trump meets with Austrian chancellor at White House

At 32, Sebastian Kurz is Europe's youngest leader

1H ago

Plurality of Virginians say Northam should stay in office

A new University of Virginia Center for Politics/Ipsos poll ​finds 43 percent of Virginians say the governor should stay in office, despite controversy he's faced in recent weeks

1H ago

Justices back man whose $40K SUV was seized over $400 drug sale

Ruling also could buttress efforts to limit the confiscation by local law enforcement of property belonging to someone suspected of a crime

2H ago

Trump's China trade remarks leave wiggle room

President Donald Trump tells reporters March 1 deadline for agreement with China isn't a "magical date"

3H ago

What to know about China's Huawei – and its battle with the U.S

The U.S. government accuses the Chinese tech giant of corporate espionage; American courts are set to weigh in

1H ago

Putin says Russia will retaliate if U.S. puts missiles in Europe

Russian leader didn't say what specific new weapons Moscow could deploy, but his statement further raised the ante in tense relations with Washington

5H ago

Huawei founder says he would defy Chinese law on intel gathering

Chinese company is the largest seller of telecommunications equipment in the world

6H ago

Survivor "aggravated" pope skipped clergy sex abuse meeting

Shaun Dougherty never imagined his very personal crusade against Catholic clergy sexual abuse would lead him to the Vatican

7H ago

Hanoi barber offers free Trump, Kim hairdos ahead of summit

He says it's a way to show the people of Hanoi welcome the summit, since the Vietnamese capital is a city of peace

9H ago

Here's how to watch the 91st Academy Awards

All of Hollywood's elite will descend on LA's Dolby Theatre Sunday night for the biggest cinema awards event of the year

1H ago

Gwyneth Paltrow is ending her run as Marvel character Pepper Potts

"I mean, I'm a bit old to be in a suit and all that at this point," the 46-year-old actress told Variety

3H ago

ACM Awards 2019: Full list of nominees

Country music icon Reba McEntire, who's hosting the ACM Awards for the 16th time this year, reveals the nominations

5H ago

Testimony in Jussie Smollett case scrapped after "Hail Mary" phone call

CBS News source says the last-minute call from "Empire" actor's lawyers apparently is what scuttled grand jury testimony from two brothers

6H ago

Burberry apologizes for "noose" hoodie

The brand's CEO and creative director weighed in after an uproar followed Instagram posts by model Liz Kennedy decrying the item

11H ago

What to know about China's Huawei – and its battle with the U.S

The U.S. government accuses the Chinese tech giant of corporate espionage; American courts are set to weigh in

1H ago

What parents should know before sharing about kids online

A child's online footprint can begin before they are even born – starting when parents upload sonograms to social media

1H ago

It's Samsung's turn to reveal its newest smartphone lineup

The question looming over its high-profile launch event: Will the new models and features be enough to boost sales?

5H ago

Battle royale in online games: "Apex Legends" smashes "Fortnite"

"Fortnite" is no longer the record holder for game downloads and viewership, with EA's "Apex Legends" charging ahead

5H ago

Huawei founder says he would defy Chinese law on intel gathering

Chinese company is the largest seller of telecommunications equipment in the world

6H ago

Grand Canyon takes action after tourists possibly exposed to radiation

Officials investigating whether anyone was exposed to radiation at unsafe levels while samples of uranium ore sat in plastic buckets in a park research building

4H ago

Startup halts treatment using young people's blood after warning

Ambrosia Health charged thousands of dollars for infusions of plasma from teens and young adults

19H ago

Is "zombie deer disease" a threat to humans?

The disease erodes the brain so the animal salivates and acts lethargic, in a sort of zombie-like state

21H ago

Nature's Path recalls gluten-free cereal due to undeclared gluten

Food maker recalls some batches of gluten-free product sold around the U.S. because it may contain wheat and barley

Feb 19

Scientifically proven ways to lose weight

Experts say it's the quality, not just the quantity, of what you eat that matters

Feb 19

What to know about China's Huawei – and its battle with the U.S

The U.S. government accuses the Chinese tech giant of corporate espionage; American courts are set to weigh in

1H ago

Smallhold wants automated, in-store farms to change how we eat

The startup's mini-farm technology lets grocers and restaurants affordably grow their own fresh produce on-site

2H ago

Trump's China trade remarks leave wiggle room

President Donald Trump tells reporters March 1 deadline for agreement with China isn't a "magical date"

3H ago

Claim these tax deductions — even if you can't itemize

Also known as "above the line deductions," these special provisions can be big money-savers

4H ago

It's Samsung's turn to reveal its newest smartphone lineup

The question looming over its high-profile launch event: Will the new models and features be enough to boost sales?

5H ago

Testimony in Jussie Smollett case scrapped after "Hail Mary" phone call

CBS News source says the last-minute call from "Empire" actor's lawyers apparently is what scuttled grand jury testimony from two brothers

6H ago

Disturbing testimony of "horrific" scene in missing mom case

Colorado Bureau of Investigation Agent testified Tuesday that Krystal Jean Lee Kenney described the scene inside Kelsey's Berreth's home as "horrific"

19H ago

Sources: Brothers expected to testify before grand jury in Jussie Smollett case

The two brothers told police Smollett paid them to fake an attack

19H ago

Ex-Philly cop allegedly sexually assaulted witnesses, suspects

Authorities allege Philip Nordo used his position to intimidate and groom male suspects and witnesses into sexual acts

20H ago

Ex-cop who killed teen contests rare challenge to his sentence

Jason Van Dyke's attorneys say such the challenge from prosecutors is only warranted in extraordinary circumstances

Feb 19  Original Article