Man arrested after mountain lions found eating human remains on Arizona trail

A 21-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the discovery of human remains near a popular hiking trail in Arizona — where three mountain lions were found feasting on the body parts, police said.

Daylan Jacob Thorton was arrested late Friday on a charge of auto theft of a vehicle belonging to Steven Mark Brashear, an Oklahoma man who was reported missing in December, the Pima County Sheriff’s Department announced Saturday.

Thorton was identified last week as a person of interest in an investigation into the human remains found in Pima Canyon in the Coronado National Forest on Dec. 30. The remains had not been positively identified as of late Friday, police said.

The three mountain lions found eating the remains were later killed by the Arizona Game and Fish Department. The animals — which are not suspected of killing the person who was found dead — were put down because they were a danger to the public and showed no fear of game officials, CBS News reported.

“We thought the risk was too great and we had to take action,” spokesman Mark Hart said. “Mountain lions are not routinely scavengers. Mountain lions prefer live prey and they’re very good at killing live prey. And there’s abundant javelina and deer in the Catalina foothills so why it happened in this case, we’re just not sure.”

Police in Oro Valley, outside of Tucson, said they were helping investigators in Oklahoma look into the disappearance of Brashear, 66, who left his home in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, on Dec. 7 with another man in a gray Audi SUV. Brashear may have arrived in the Tucson area on Dec. 8, CBS News reported.

Brashear then went into a restaurant and was “picked up by another vehicle by an unknown person” and has not been spotted since, CBS News reported.