It appeared the bite occurred soon after Thompson shot himself and that his body had been dragged a short distance, Lutz said.
"What a tragedy," said veterinarian Barb Wolfe, of the Wilds animal preserve sponsored by the Columbus Zoo. "We knew that . . . there were so many dangerous animals at this place that eventually something bad would happen, but I don't think anybody really knew it would be this bad."
The sheriff would not speculate why Thompson took his own life. "We don't know what he was thinking," said Lutz, who added that finding out the reasons why wasn't the focus on his investigation.
Thompson was deep in debt, records show. He and his wife had money problems dating to the 1990s, but their debt had escalated in recent years and they owed at least $68,000 in income and property taxes, according to court records obtained Thursday.
Neighbors made it clear that Thompson loved the animals and would not have wanted them hurt.
"He liked animals more than he did people," said Fred Polk, whose farm is within sight of Thompson's home. "He really did."
As the hunt wound down Wednesday, a photo showing the remains of tigers, bears, and lions lined up and scattered in an open field went viral, provoking visceral reactions among viewers, some of whom expressed their anger and sadness on social-networking sites.
Some townspeople also were saddened by the deaths. At a nearby Moose Lodge, Bill Weiser said: "It's breaking my heart, them shooting those animals."
Will Travers, chief executive of the California-based Born Free USA animal welfare and wildlife conservation organization, said police had no choice but to take the action they did.
"It's a tragedy for these particular animals, for no fault of their own they've been shot, and I can see how difficult that decision was for the police," he said.
Six animals - three leopards, a grizzly bear, and two monkeys - were captured and taken to the Columbus Zoo. "We are happy to report they all seem to be doing very well," zoo spokeswoman Patti Peters said in a statement Thursday.
A wolf was later found dead, leaving a monkey as the only animal possibly still unaccounted for in the mostly rural community of farms, widely spaced homes, and wooded areas about 55 miles east of Columbus.
While the sheriff's office said early Thursday that the search for the monkey was still active, Lutz said the animal might no longer be a concern. It's highly likely the monkey was killed by one of the big cats, Lutz said.