Dead B.C. man eaten by bear ID'd as convicted killer

A man whose dead body was partly eaten by a bear on a remote road near Kamloops, B.C., was a convicted murderer who had been reported missing last week.

The B.C. Coroner's Service and the RCMP say 53-year-old Rory Nelson Wagner had been living in Kamloops before he vanished.

The National Parole Board has confirmed Wagner pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in 1994.

He and two others were charged with killing a Langley, B.C. man in 1993 who they believed had sexually assaulted their family member.

The parole documents show the murder victim was charged with the sexual assault, but was found not guilty shortly before he was killed.

Authorities believe Wagner died by accident or suicide in his car and a bear dragged his body out of the vehicle, ate part of it and buried the rest. He had been reported missing May 23.

Hunters came across the remains earlier this week after finding an abandoned Volkswagen Jetta on a logging road earlier this week.

Foul play not suspected

The Coroner's Service said Friday an autopsy and toxicology tests will be conducted to determine Wagner's cause of death, but police have said there's no suggestion of foul play.

"It's not going to be particularly difficult. In any case, it does take several weeks for toxicology results to come back. It's fairly standard," said coroner Mark Coleman.

Meanwhile, Kamloops conservation officers trapped two bears in the same area, including one that matches the description of the suspect bear.

Acting Conservation Inspector Darcy MacPhee said oficers are using animal hair samples taken from Wagner's remains, as well as teeth imprints, to determine if they have the right animal.

He said if they identify the offending bear, it will be put down.

Even though the bear did not kill Wagner, B.C. Environment Minister Terry Lake has said conservation officers are hunting for the animal in order to ensure public safety.