Sam Mazzola, Bear Owner, Dies Of Asphyxia During Sexual Role-Play, Says Pathologist

07/11/2011 09:36 pm ET | Updated Sep 10, 2011

COLUMBIA STATION, Ohio — An Ohio pathologist says an exotic-animal keeper found dead in his waterbed was face down, tied with bondage restraints and had obstructions over his nose and mouth.

Dr. Frank P. Miller III at the Lorain County coroner's office tells The Associated Press on Tuesday that Sam Mazzola was asphyxiated in an apparent accident during sexual role-play. Miller says Mazzola had a sex toy in his mouth, wore a mask and was chained to the bed.

An employee found the 49-year-old Mazzola dead Sunday. The manner of his death is pending further investigation.

A bear owned by Mazzola killed an employee who opened its cage for feeding last year at the Mazzola home in Columbia Station, where wolves and tigers also were kept. Columbia Station is about 15 miles outside Cleveland.