Orinda woman attacked by bear in North Tahoe

Bay Area

ORINDA, Calif. (KRON) — “I was frightened, I was terrified, I was absolutely terrified and it takes a lot to terrify me.”

Laurel-Rose Von Hoffmann-Curzi has seen bears in her North Tahoe neighborhood, and even snapped photos, but never has she encountered one inside her cabin as she did just before sunrise on Saturday.

“There was a light from the freezer shining on the bear and he was heaving frozen food out onto the floor,” Von Hoffmann-Curzi said.

Before she could get back in her bedroom, the bear was on her.

“What I saw was a paw and I couldn’t see, I was just being torn, I could see what exactly was happening,” she said. 

Eventually, the bear went back downstairs and out the door, but the damage had been done. Von Hoffmann-Curzi’s body was covered in blood bruises and puncture wounds.

“I got to the bedroom and put my legs straight up against the armoire cause I was afraid I was bleeding internally so I could get the blood into my central head,” Von Hoffmann-Curzi said.

State wildlife officials collected forensic evidence from the bite wounds in hopes of getting a DNA profile of the bear, and set up a trap near the victim’s home. 

“If we can get that bear in the trap, we will do the DNA work and compare the DNA profile,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife Capt. Patrick Foy said. “And if it’s the same bear, it will be euthanized and if not it will be released.”

Von Hoffmann-Curzi is suffering from stage 4 cancer and had been at the cabin following a round of chemotherapy. She believes bears should be able to live in the wilderness, but ones like these should be relocated away from people. 

“The brazenness of an attack in an occupied house is frightening and I think Fish and Wildlife need to be careful about the bears they allow to exist in communities,” she said.

Von Hoffmann-Curzi says she does have plans to return to that Tahoe home, but not until that bear is captured.

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