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Musician Taylor Mitchell dies after coyote attack while hiking

October 29, 2009 | 10:38 am

Undated promotional photo of Taylor Mitchell A young folk musician had her life cut tragically short, dying from injuries sustained after being attacked by two coyotes while hiking.

Taylor Mitchell, 19, was hiking alone in Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Nova Scotia, Canada, on Tuesday when the attack occurred.

Mitchell, of Toronto, was airlifted to a Halifax hospital in critical condition and died Wednesday morning.

The Ottawa Citizen reports that another hiker heard her screams and called emergency services. Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers arrived at the scene and shot one of the coyotes, though both animals escaped.

Park officials later killed one of the coyotes believed to have bitten Mitchell. Its body was sent to the Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island for pathological tests to try to determine why the animals attacked.

"If Mitchell ran from the coyotes or panicked, it may have triggered a predatory response in the animals," said Simon Gadbois, an animal behavior specialist at Canada's Dalhousie University.

"Coyotes are very shy animals," Gadbois said. "To me, this looks like two yearlings with very little hunting experience, probably very hungry, maybe a little bit desperate."

Fans continue to express condolences on Mitchell's MySpace and Facebook pages.

"Words can't begin to express the sadness and tragedy of losing such a sweet, compassionate, vibrant and phenomenally talented young woman," Lisa Weitz, Mitchell's manager, said in an e-mail. "She loved the woods and had a deep affinity for their beauty and serenity."

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Undated promotional photo of Taylor Mitchell released by LW Communications.