Michelle Theriault-Boots

A brown bear killed a 44-year-old hiker deep in the South Fork Eagle River Valley and mauled a member of a search party looking for him on Wednesday, Anchorage police said.

Michael Soltis’ body was found in the same area near the end of Hiland Road — a winding, 9-mile-long route into the South Fork Eagle River Valley — where a brown bear also attacked a man searching for the missing Eagle River civil engineer Wednesday morning.

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