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Wrong bear killed after attack on Midlothian mom, at Douthat park

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Posted at 3:10 PM, Aug 21, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-21 15:10:01-04

CHESTERFIELD, Va. -- The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries said the wrong bear was killed after an attack at Douthat state park earlier this month.

The test results came back this week, and show the wrong black bear was euthanized.

Officials said biological samples from the bear did not match DNA from the victim’s clothes.

The victim Laurie Cooksey is from Midlothian.

The attack happened around 5:30 p.m. August 8, on a Saturday.

Cooksey was hiking with her three children on the Blue Suck Trail in Douthat State Park in Bath County, Virginia.

Laurie Cooksey took this picture moments before the attack.

Laurie Cooksey took this picture moments before the attack.

“I have to be honest with you I didn’t think I was going to live beyond that day,” Cooksey said.

Cooksey’s injuries, which required 28 stitches, included bite marks, bruises, and large scratches from the bear’s claws.

Cooksey said the bear attacked her when she was with one of her sons. She was able to kick the bear and escape briefly. At that point, she was able to run to her two other children where they made loud noises to intimidate the bear which reappeared.

Laurie Cooksey shares her account of the bear attack.

Laurie Cooksey shares her account of the bear attack.

“They took their walking sticks and just jumped up and down and yelled as loud as they could,” Cooksey said.

Cooksey said she does not think she did anything wrong. There was no cub nearby, nor was she carrying food.

“The officer told me, by the way the bear was looking at me, it appeared she was hunting,” Cooksey said.

Cooksey believes the hiking mantra “get big and get loud” saved her life, but she said luck played a huge part too.

“I don’t have a lesson, I wish I did, you can’t be prepared to get attacked by a bear,” Cooksey added.