(FOX40.COM) — A woman was found dead in her home in Northern California and evidence suggests that there was an “encounter with a bear” sometime after her death, according to the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office.

The agency said that deputies were asked to do a welfare check at the woman’s home in Downieville on Nov. 8. Downieville is about 110 miles northeast of Sacramento.

The person who made the request said that the woman, Patrice Miller, 71, had not been seen or heard from in days.

Deputies that responded had to force their way into Miller’s home and found her deceased, along with evidence that suggests a “subsequent encounter with a bear,” the sheriff’s office said.

Investigators believe that Miller died before the bear made its way into the home. The sheriff’s office said that the animal could have been drawn to the home by scent or other factors.

“The Sierra County Sheriff’s Office extends its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Patrice Miller during this difficult time. The loss of a community member is always a tragedy, and our thoughts are with those affected by this unfortunate event,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

It’s unclear what type of bear was involved, but according to the California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, black bears are the only wild bears in the state.

The agency said that CDFW is helping to investigate the incident.

Residents are asked to use caution around bears and other wildlife, close ground-level doors and windows at night, and lock vehicles and remove foods, including garbage, from easily accessible areas to deter wildlife.