"She was trying to protect her babies," the woman's friend, Donna Duke, told WDRB. "But it was not a bobcat."
Authorities at the Indiana Department of Natural Resources confirmed Friday that the couple had in fact shot a leopard, a large feline not found in North America.
"The cat in these photographs has been identified tentatively as a leopard," a department rep said. "Perhaps an immature cat about 9 months old. DNR is attempting to determine who it belonged to, or where it came from."
The leopard, which wasn't claimed by any local wildlife sanctuaries, could have belonged to someone as a pet. Indiana residents can keep big cats -- with permits.
UPI Almanac for Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014