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Mormon missionary mauled by lions returns to Utah

Published July 17, 2011 12:02 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The LDS missionary mauled by lions in Guatemala has returned to Utah.

Scott Trotter, a spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, confirmed Sunday that Paul Oakey, of St. George, had returned to the state. No further information about Oakey was disclosed.

Oakey, 20, was serving a mission in Guatemala. On July 11, Oakey and fellow missionaries had a day off from proselytizing and visited a zoo in Esquipulas. Oakey wanted a picture of himself in front of the lion cage, so he scaled a concrete wall in front of the enclosure. Two lions stalked stealthily up to the wall. One grabbed Oakey's right leg, pulling him back against the cage, and the other lion grabbed his left arm. Other missionaries helped free Oakey.

He underwent at least two surgeries in Guatemala to repair damage to his arm and leg.