Catherine Nieves and her two daughters were out for a walk in the woods of Holbrook, Massachusetts, when the morning took an unexpected turn.
"I looked up from the spring foliage and there's a coyote about 10 to 15 feet in front of us," Nieves said of the incident at Holbrook Town Forest. "So I grabbed the kids, backed up slowly, trying to figure out what to do, because that was our only way in and out, really."
The encounter happened about a mile into the woods Thursday morning.
The coyote wouldn't budge.
Nieves was afraid it might attack if she and the kids tried to run around it.
"I didn't want to take my eye off it," said Nieves. "I was staring at that coyote in the rock for about a solid 30 minutes. It was pretty scary, you'd expect it to run away, it was kind of a standoff situation, almost."
And she was trying to come up with a game plan.
"If I'm going to have to fistfight the coyote," she wondered. "If I have to put the coyote in a headlock."
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She connected with 911 and sent in her GPS location. Police launched a drone to try to spot the family in the 115-acre site, but Deputy Police Chief Bill Marble found them based on the GPS information.
He says the family made the right moves by not engaging the coyote.
"Don't disturb them," said Marble. "They're afraid of you, but don't give them a chance, don't get near them at all, the mom did everything right."
The coyote took off just as police arrived.
"I was thinking we were going to die," said Nieves' older daughter, Sofia.
Animal Control says the coyote was likely just trying to protect its den.