VILLA RIDGE, Mo. — People in Franklin County should keep their eyes and ears open for a mountain lion.
According to the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), a car slammed into the mountain lion Monday night around 7 p.m., off Old Highway 100 in Villa Ridge. Then, the animal ran away.
Where it went and whether it is alive remains a mystery.
"I'm 65 years old, I've been here all my life and I've never heard of a mountain lion." Randy Hake, a nearby resident and witness, said.
He couldn't believe his ears after getting a phone call from his brother Monday night.
"He said there was a mountain lion hit at the top of my driveway, which is just right over there," Hake said.
He came outside moments after the crash happened. He said he took videos and pictures along with the other dozen people who gathered on scene.
"I saw him laying on the road briefly, then I saw him run down the road," he said.
MDC said they were alerted to a Facebook post and received some calls about a struck mountain lion. A conservation agent responded and attempted to find it but wasn’t successful.
"There were several of us from the department that conducted a search on the highway adjacent to the field where it was hit," MDC Wildlife Damage Biologist Patrice Pyatt said.
Pyatt said they searched the area Monday night and Tuesday morning.
"We were not able to find anything that would lead us to believe the cat was still in that location," she said.
Hake said word has traveled fast, but concerns traveled just as quickly.
"It's pretty much the highlight of something happening around here," he said. "It's not a very good situation when you let your grandkids outside."
Pyatt said when MDC receives a report of a mountain lion sighting and gets some type of physical evidence, they investigate before making what they call a confirmation.
"Since the early '90s, we have around 100 of those confirmations done in the state of Missouri," she said.
As the search continues, Hake said he still has questions.
“To think that he’s still wandering around this area, my big question is where did he come from?" he said.
The Missouri Department of Conversation said if you spot this mountain lion, don't approach it. Call your local police department or the Missouri Department of Conservation.