Alaska hiker found dead after apparent bear attack, police say

The search for a missing man in Alaska ended Wednesday when he was found dead in the woods, likely because of a bear attack, police said.

Michael Soltis, 44, last was seen Monday evening in the area of Hiland Road in Anchorage where police say he went for a hike.

At approximately 10:32 a.m. Wednesday, a volunteer searching for Soltis was attacked by a brown bear near the same area last he was seen. The unidentified volunteer was taken to a hospital, and is expected to survive.

Shortly after the attack, Anchorage police entered the woods where they located Soltis who they say died as a result of a bear attack.

“It appears the brown bear was protecting the body when it attacked a member of the search party,” police said in a statement.

The animal was not immediately found, and authorities were asking people to stay away from the wooded area.

“We believe the bear that attacked the volunteer was the one that attacked and killed the missing man,” police spokesman MJ Thim said.

Authorities removed Soltis’ body, and posted bear warning signs on a small footpath leading from the road to the woods.

Alaska Fish and Game spokesman Ken Marsh said agency representatives were investigating at the site to determine whether the bear attack was predatory or a defensive action, such as guarding bear cubs or a food cache like a dead moose.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.