Big hole found in El Cajon panther sighting story

Photo sent to 10News was taken from Internet

EL CAJON, Calif. - A woman's claim of a panther sighting had law enforcement looking from the ground and the air, but a big hole was found in her story.

Police showed up Wednesday afternoon in El Cajon in search of a black panther, while the Sheriff's Department searched in their helicopter overhead.

Yvette Yenez sent a photo to 10News after she says she took it with her iPhone on Wednesday morning while on a walk.

"I swear to God that cat was like this big and that tall. It's like my black lab," she said. "It looked like a black lab."

10News did some searching online and found a photo on Flickr – posted on March 27, 2010 – that looked like the very same photo Yenez sent to 10News, but she swore up and down that she took the photo from just feet away.

"To me … doesn't that look like the same picture to you?" asked 10News reporter Preston Phillips.

Yenez answered, "Yes, it does … but that's the cat I saw."

10News learned she was questioned by police, who told us she admitted to taking the photo off the Internet and was sorry, but she says she did see something.

A week ago, East County Magazine reported on a rash of sightings of large black wild cats in East County, most recently in Spring Valley. 

The report stated the growing number of sightings was raising intriguing questions, similar to 10News' interview with Yenez.

"I do not want people to think that he's full of crap, because you're not … what I sent you is what it was and that's it," she said.

El Cajon police believe that there is some type of black cat – larger than a typical house cat –lurking around the neighborhood but a black panther, probably not the case.

Police are filing a report with the Department of Fish and Game. They say Yenez will not face charges.

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