Yellowstone National Park officials say they have killed a grizzly bear that fatally mauled a hiker after DNA evidence linked the bear to the scene of a second hiker's death.

But park officials say they may never know definitively whether the same bear that killed Brian Matayoshi in July also killed John Wallace in August because there was evidence of multiple bears near Wallace's body.

The female bear was let go after the first killing, when park officials said it was reacting naturally to defend its two cubs. Superintendent Dan Wenk said Monday the decision to euthanize the 6-to-7-year-old sow was meant to protect park visitors and staff.

The bear was linked to the scene of the second killing through DNA analysis of hair and scat samples.

Associated Press