SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Just three weeks ago, a long-time comic book fan and pulp fiction aficionado from San Narciso County received the job offer of his dreams -- assistant penciller for an imprint of DC Comics. He was packed and ready to take the train south to San Diego, Calif., for the annual Comic-Con convention, which showcases the best in comics, graphic novels, superheroes and pop culture. While there, he would have met with publishing executives for an opportunity to pitch his self-created series, “Coit Manhandler: Cougar Master.” But in turns tragic and ironic, the young man’s parents found their son dead early Wednesday morning, the apparent victim of a cougar attack. The mutilated corpse was discovered beside a pile of first edition Hulk comics, wearing a blood-spattered Superman cape and Star Wars Stormtrooper helmet. Investigators said he died as he lived -- a consummate virgin.
After winning a lengthy legal battle for the right to keep exotic cougars on his property in rural Kinneret Foothills, Buford Starwarrior was mauled to death by the 125-pound beast. Starwarrior, a 26-year-old aspiring comic book artist who lived in his parent’s basement, had legally changed his last name from Johnston last year.
“He had gone in to feed the cougar when he was attacked,” recalled Abner Johnston, Starwarrior’s father. “There were no witnesses that we know of. His mother found him dead next to a box of unopened condoms.”
“We don’t know what may have provoked the attack,” he added. “She was well taken care of, given lots of space to roam and seemed really pleased to share our home after Buford brought her back from the grocery store.”
The cougar is a particularly dangerous beast, according to Detective Che Buffston, who specializes in such cases.
“You’ve got these young men, boys really, confronting a powerful and established 35- to 45-year-old female who’s on the ‘hunt’ for young, energetic, willing-to-do-anything males,” Buffston explained. “She can be found in the usual hunting grounds: nightclubs, bars, beaches, overpriced coffee places and Whole Foods. She won’t play the usual games that women in their early twenties participate in. End state, she’ll be going for the kill, which is what we got here today. Poor kid.”
Cougars, once regarded as stealthy and inconspicuous predators, seem to have expanded their territorial stalking grounds. “As we encroach on their natural environment, they inevitably learn to survive in ours,” Buffston continued. “As it stands now, man is the cougar’s number one prey.”
Police speculate that Starwarrior, as so many other romantically inexperienced young men, simply ventured into a situation he was ill-equipped and poorly trained to handle.
“These beasts know exactly what they want and how to get it,” Buffston said. “You can’t tame them, you can’t domesticate them. They always revert back to their feral instincts. Happens around age 30. And it just gets worse. Clearly, young Mr. Johnston couldn’t satisfy the cougar’s cravings. More than a lack of willingness, we usually chalk this up to lack of experience. It takes a lot of stamina to handle an aging cougar.”
Alcohol can sometimes help, experts claim, but skill, endurance and physical strength are the only proven methods for temporarily subduing cougars.
“He thought he could keep her,” Starwarrior's father said. “But it was obvious that he was out of his depth. He wasn’t willing to let her go, but you just can’t keep animals like this in a good home. Look at what happened to Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton and Steve Anderson. Even Jennifer Aniston. A cougar attack takes a mighty big toll.”
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