News of U.S. Forest Service officer Brad Treat’s death spread across the world, but the fact that he was a law enforcement officer often got lost in the headlines, reports the Washington Post.

Last week, a federal report detailed exactly how a confluence of unlikely events sent Officer Treat flying around a blind curve on a bicycle, directly into 300-some pounds of grizzly bear last June. And how paranoia spread through the woods as the feds searched for the animal.

Brad Treat was a federal officer who patrolled 2 million acres of Montana wilderness. Now his wife, Somer Treat, has broken her silence. After nine months of grief, she wants the world to know what happens when an officer dies deep in the woods.

She’d lived on this land all her life, and when she got the call she knew just where to go. She pulled over to the side of the road, across a band of trees from where her husband went down, and where hundreds had already gathered.

“Every park ranger, every Border Patrol officer, the volunteer fire department, the sheriff of Flathead County,” Somer said. “These were people that had spent their life working with him.”

They soon knew he was dead. But if they ever find the bear, it will be left alone, because it is believed to have attacked only in self-defense.

“I’ve never thought there was anyone to blame,” Somer said. “If Brad would have investigated this, he would have said it was one-in-a-million, unprecedented, never happened before.”

Somer Treat now lives alone in their house on the edge of the forest. She thinks about her husband and the land he loved, and how to honor them. And she has resumed her tradition of running through the woods every morning, as she used to do with her husband.

 

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