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A 40-year-old woman jogger was involved in a violent struggle with a mountain lion that had pounced on her back, but she was able to break free and run about 25 feet before the animal attacked again and killed her, according to preliminary autopsy results.

Investigators said Tuesday the mountain lion apparently had lain in wait atop a steep, brush-covered hillside adjacent to a popular trail in remote El Dorado County that the victim, Barbara Schoener of Placerville, frequently used for jogging.The grim autopsy report made the death of Schoener the first recorded fatal attack by a mountain lion in California since 1909. And the mother and child killed in the 1909 attack died of rabies, not of wounds inflicted by the lion.

Meanwhile, authorities expressed confidence they could track down and kill the lion. Earlier they had been pessimistic because of bad weather and a cold trail.

But Tuesday, three trackers with dogs found cat prints in the area where the victim was attacked Saturday morning, indicating the animal had returned to the area after the victim's body had been removed.

The attack on Schoener, a mother of two children, occurred along the trail, about 50 miles east of Sacramento, used by runners, hikers, horseback riders and motorcyclists. The attack occurred less than a mile away from a housing development.

Preliminary autopsy results ruled out any other cause of death, officials said.