Investigators finally understand why an entire family of bears died in a parking lot

On Dec. 6 of this year, the West Wyoming Borough Police Department received a very strange case.

An entire family of bears appeared to have died in the parking lot of St. Monica's church in West Wyoming, Pennsylvania. The bears showed no obvious signs of trauma or thrashing, and it would be weeks before investigators could finally determine the cause of their deaths.

The case was so mysterious that the West Wyoming Police Department as well as the Pennsylvania Game Commission asked the public for their thoughts on how the bears might have died.

Check out these wild bears

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KEENESBURG, CO - JUNE 8: The grizzly bear named 'Tiny' plays in the pool area of the habitat. The Wild Animal Sanctuary has over 350 rescued tigers, lions, bears, and other wild animals at it's location in Keenesburg and is looking to expand by 600 acres. (Photo by Kathryn Scott Osler/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - 2013/08/27: Brown bear (Ursus arctos) or grizzly looking for salmon at Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska, USA. (Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images)
WEST PALM BEACH, FL - DECEMBER 17: Grizzly bear cubs, Juneau & Sitka, stand in the water during their first day out in the public at the Palm Beach Zoo on December 17, 2015 in West Palm Beach, Florida. The Zoo will host the two-orphaned female grizzly bear cubs until their new permanent home in a South Dakota zoo is completed. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
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A grizzly bear sits inside a caged area at the Parque de Las Leyendas zoo in Lima, December 13, 2011. The mayor of Lima, Susana Villaran, invited 7,000 children from the poorest areas of Lima to a Christmas party at the zoo. REUTERS/Mariana Bazo (PERU - Tags: SOCIETY ANIMALS)
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Grizzly Bear Swimming, Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary, Canada. (Photo by: Education Images/UIG via Getty Images)
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"The highly unusual circumstances prompted the Game Commission to consider the deaths suspicious and requested that persons with any information regarding the incident to contact the agency," the Game Commission wrote on Facebook.

After conducting post-mortem examinations and completing a toxicology report, investigators were able to determine that the bears had eaten the English Yew plant, a poisonous ornamental shrub. Yew plants contain taxine, toxic to most animals if consumed.

Parts of the yew plant were discovered in each of the bear's stomachs.

"While yew are toxic year-round, toxin levels increase during the winter months. Yew is cardiotoxic and impacts the heart's ability to beat properly," The Game Commission wrote on Facebook.

Weird sad case, closed.

[H/T Buzzfeed]

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