Man’s body mauled by bear


A man’s body was found in a vehicle on a rural Susquehanna County road on the Fourth of July, apparently mauled by a bear after his death, state police at Gibson said.

Robert Neeley III was identified by Susquehanna County Coroner Anthony Conarton on Thursday.

An autopsy had been conducted at Moses Taylor Hospital in Scranton on Thursday afternoon but had not revealed a cause or manner of death.

It was pending the results of toxicology tests which should be available in 4-6 weeks.

The estimated time of death was determined to be Saturday evening (July 2), and Conarton said that when mauled by the bear Neeley was already deceased.

State police at Gibson had been notified by Thomas Shamberger of Shamberger Road – about a mile south of the New York state line – that he had discovered Neeley in his red Jeep on July 4.

Shamberger’s wife Kay said Thursday afternoon that Neeley had asked if he could camp on their property last week, and they thought that since her husband had not seen him in a couple of days maybe he should look in on him.

That’s when he discovered the victim on Monday.

Although Kay said there had been no physical sighting of a bear, its tracks were distinct on the jeep.

Conarton said that no foul play from other individuals is suspected.

Tim Conway, information and education supervisor of the state Game Commission’s Northeast Region, said bears are known to eat dead moose and deer, but he’d never heard of bears mauling people in this area.

“I’ve never heard of it in Pennsylvania, but I know it happens in other parts of the country and the world,” Conway said. “Ninety-nine percent of the time they are not a threat, but they are an animal you have to respect.”