Man first thought to be victim of mountain lion attack found dead, Nevada County authorities say | TheUnion.com

Man first thought to be victim of mountain lion attack found dead, Nevada County authorities say

A man who authorities initially reported was the victim of a December mountain lion attack killed himself earlier this month, the Nevada County Sheriff's Office said.

Scott Sterner, 51, of Grass Valley, was found March 1 in a trailer on a friend's property in the 12000 block of Rattlesnake Road. An autopsy done three days later determined the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head. Sterner's manner of death was suicide, said Mike Sullivan, chief deputy coroner.

Officers found a rifle nearby. No foul play is suspected and no note was left, Sullivan added.

"It all appears to be self-inflicted," he said.

Sterner's death comes about three months after officers responded to You Bet Road, where a passerby had found him by the roadside with a 6-inch cut to his throat. Initial reports to deputies indicated Sterner was attacked by a mountain lion. Further investigation revealed that report was unsubstantiated.

Sullivan declined to comment on the circumstances around the December injury.

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A coroner's unit and the sheriff's major crimes unit investigated the March 1 suicide because of the December incident.

"Everyone came to the same determination that the manner was suicide," Sullivan said.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.

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