SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - WFTV obtained new information Thursday about one of three people accused of feeding black bears in the same Lake Mary neighborhood where a woman was attacked.
Investigators released pictures of a man feeding the bear, which are part of the evidence the state has against Eugene Cifers.
Officers interviewed Terry Frana, the woman who needed nearly 40 stitches following the bear attack.
A report stated that she told officers her neighbor had been feeding the bears for at least two years. According to documents, Cifers said the bears come up to his patio and he has names for them.
In an audio recording with FWC officers, Frana told investigators Cifers showed her pictures of him feeding the bears.
“He and his wife hand feeding the bears off their back patio,” she said in the recording. “Petting the bears. He’s named them all. He thinks he’s the bear whisperer.”
Last month, three people, including Cifers, were charged with illegally feeding bears.
Cifers pleaded not guilty last month. A pretrial conference is scheduled for next week.
Channel 9’s Julie Salomone went to Cifers’ home to ask him about the allegations, but he would not comment.
Florida Fish and Wildlife officials said they were forced to shoot one bear and euthanized four others since the attack
Wildlife officials said they won’t have the latest bear count until next summer.
Last month, FWC officials used donuts as bait to lure bears to barbed wire boxes.
Officials will use the fur samples to track the local bear population.