0750 GMT October 31, 2020
The 19-year old Sierra Madre woman fell asleep in a backyard chair, Fish and Wildlife Capt. Patrick Foy told CNN.
"She awoke to the sound of a bear approaching her," Foy said. "It immediately attacked."
The bear scratched the young woman's arms and legs, but then it began to bite her leg. Her wounds were not life-threatening.
"The only weapon she had was her laptop. She hit the bear with it and stunned it long enough to escape inside the house," Foy said.
"She fought back vigorously, which is what you should do with any wildlife in California."
Local police responded to the incident, followed soon by wildlife officers. Bear tracks nearby and a glimpse of a bear around midnight provided evidence corroborating her story.
"This was an unprovoked, aggressive attack," Foy said. The woman did not have any food, and did not get between a bear and her cubs.
"It's likely she was looked at as prey," Foy speculated.
This is not the first time a sleeping person has been attacked in the area. Last year, a homeless man was attacked by a bear that was never caught.
DNA swabs were taken from the teenager's wounds and analyzed by a forensics lab. Foy said that analysis provided wildlife officers with a full DNA profile by the next day.
The night after the incident, wildlife officials caught two bears in the immediate vicinity. Their DNA was analyzed, but neither matched the profile of the offending bear.
Both bears were expected to be released in what Foy calls the 'nearest suitable habitat.'
In this case, they'll be taken into the Angeles National Forest — typically 25 miles or so away from where they were captured.
The bear that attacked the woman has not yet been found. If or when it is, that bear will be euthanized.
California is home to only black bears, even though some are brown. There are no wild grizzlies in the state.