The woman captured on viral video going into the lion’s enclosure at the Bronx Zoo in September is a wanted fugitive, law enforcement sources familiar with the case told News 4 Thursday.
Myah Autry was charged with two counts of criminal trespass when she surrendered to authorities in November, about two months after the wild footage of her inside the lion enclosure, taunting the king of the jungle, went viral.
A bench warrant was issued for Autry's arrest last week because she didn't show up to court for a follow-up appearance in the zoo case, the Bronx district attorney's office said. Authorities are still looking for her.
Video posted to Instagram this fall shows Autry standing what appears to be just feet away from a male lion. They stare at each other for a brief period of time before she seems to almost taunt it, raising her arms and wiggling her body for a second as if she's dancing. The lion just stares at her, occasionally looking away. It wasn't just the lion she annoyed, though.
Other photos and videos show Autry at the zoo on the same day. Another video of her surfaced from the giraffe den, where she's seen waving to the lanky ungulates as they munched on leaves further away. Just outside the front gate, she is also seen on video talking about her birthday and saying "I'm about to f--k with Mother Nature," as she laughs.
Autry spoke to reporters for the first time on October 31 after a court appearance for a shoplifting charge in Kearny, New Jersey.
Autry’s wild Halloween interaction with the media — almost as strange as her interaction with the animals at the zoo — began with her bowing to the reporters as she warmly greeted them with “shalom.”
In an often-rambling, 15-minute session outside the courthouse, Autry said her reasoning for jumping into the lion’s den was “a lot more spiritual” and that she was never afraid while she was in there.
“I fear nobody. No animal, no human, no one. So no, I wasn’t fearing of the lion because the lion loved me. That’s why he came to me and I let the lion know: Lion, I love you,” Autry said.
She said she would never have been injured by the lion, who eyed her as she seemed to dance while across a moat from the ferocious feline, because she and the animal are one.
“I am the lion now. Can’t you tell? Have you ever heard of reincarnation? Do your history young man!” she said before complimenting the reporter’s eyes and smile. “Do your history, it’s called reincarnation. I am the lion now.”
Autry refused to address the shoplifting charge but made it clear she had no ill-will toward the NYPD.
“I love the NYPD. Hi NYPD,” she said into the camera, adding that she participated in a Police Athletic League and the DARE program for years. At the time, she did say she would turn herself in but, “I do know the law.”
“I don’t have no problem with the law. When we get together law, we will have a good time,” she said.
Autry also said she did not mean to disrespect the lion, who appeared more curious than annoyed for most of the video, before witnesses said it roared.
“I love you lion, hope they treating you right in the zoo. Know Myah love you. I didn’t mean to mistreat you or nothing,” she said. “I seen how you came to me. We connected. To the kids, respect your parents please. Your teachers. Authority.”
No word on if she has the same respect for the giraffe she was seen posing for a photo with inside its den.
A woman who has known Autry for years previously told NBC New York she was worried about her.
"Myah please get help. I dont know. I don’t know what is wrong with you," said Eunice Walton. "I feel sad because she is like like my child. She is with my daughter since high school."