With authorities unable to apprehend the mountain lion spotted in northeast Turlock on Sunday evening, schools in the area are increasing presence to ensure the safety of students.
The approximately 90-pound mountain lion was first spotted around 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, with officers confirming the visual sighting when responding to the scene.
Turlock Unified School District Assistant Superintendent Dana Trevethan issued a statement Monday morning saying that there would be increased security around the schools in the area — Turlock High School, Julien Elementary School, and Dutcher Middle School.
“TUSD maintained communication with the Turlock Police Department throughout the evening in their attempt to capture the mountain lion… TPD will continue to maintain presence around Julien, THS and Dutcher campuses today. Additionally, our school resource officers will provide increased support to these campuses throughout the day as well. Our site administrators are making the necessary arrangements to maintain student and staff safety until there is a closure to this incident.”
Additionally, TUSD released the following statement on their Facebook encouraging parents to take extra precaution with their students.
“Until the mountain lion situation is resolved, as a precautionary measure, we encourage parents to transport their student(s) to and from school over the next several days as well as have them to walk in groups to and from the Julien, Dutcher Middle School, and Turlock High School campuses. We will continue to update information as it becomes available throughout the day.”
At approximately 10:40 p.m., the Turlock Police Department broke down the perimeter in the area.
TurlockCityNews.com obtained home surveillance video showing the mountain lion jumping over a backyard fence and running down the street as a police car was driving on California Street. This was the first photo or video confirmation released to the public.
Officers remained in the area until around midnight after the mountain lion was spotted in a residential backyard. The mountain lion was able to get away, and the Turlock Police Department called off the search.
The Turlock Police Department also received an unconfirmed reported at approximately 1:20 a.m., said Turlock police spokesperson Sgt. Stephen Webb. The reporting party, however, was unsure if they had seen the mountain lion or a large dog.
Officials from the California Department of Fish and Game continued their search throughout the night and are expected to remain in the area on Monday.