Coyote Responsible for 5 Bay Area Attacks, Including 3-Year-Old Girl, Captured and Killed After 16-Day Search

A coyote responsible for attacking five people, including two small children, in Contra Cosa County, Calif., has been captured.

The "unusually aggressive" coyote first attacked attacked a young child on July 9, 2020. In December, two adult males were attacked by the same coyote.

Another small child and an adult male were then attacked in February, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said Friday.

"It is the sincere hope of the agencies that locals can recreate outdoors in the area again with significantly reduced anxiety and that the community knows that outdoor recreation is still very safe," the department said in a statement.

The coyote will undergo a rabies test as part of standard procedure. There is no evidence that the coyote had the disease, according to CDFW.

The animal was found and euthanized, "very close to one of the attack sites," CDFW Capt. Patrick Foy told the San Francisco Chronicle.

DNA evidence taken from each of the victims linked the same coyote to all five attacks, CDFW said.

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While the search for the coyote had been ongoing, police and animal control presence ramped up in the area following the second attack on a child in mid-February, according to KPIX.

The mother of a 3-year-old girl who was attacked in February told KPIX that she was standing right next to her daughter when the incident occurred.

"I had a stroller and the baby, and I heard her scream," the mother, identified as Jackie, said. "I turned around, and she was literally right next to me and there was a coyote biting her. So I screamed and I yelled, and the coyote retreated, but it didn't go far."

She continued, "It was not scared off by me at all."

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Jackie said she didn't expect a coyote to attack when she was standing right next to her toddler, adding that the experience was "very scary," she said.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

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