Alligators Seen Dragging Body in Florida Lake, Say Police

July 5, 2019 Updated: July 5, 2019

A body was found surrounded by about 10 alligators in a lake in St. Petersburg, Florida, according to local reports on July 4.

The body, which was decomposing, was found near mangroves in Lake Maggiore. Officials have not identified the remains and don’t know how the body got there, reported the Tampa Bay Times.

Witnesses told police they saw alligators dragging the body in the water, but officials don’t know the cause of death.

“It is badly decomposed,” police department spokeswoman Yolanda Fernandez told the paper. “We’re unable to tell anything about it—gender or race or anything.”

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“It’s very, very hot and anybody that is, unfortunately, in this heat and that’s been in the water for a while is going to suffer decomposition,” Fernandez told Fox13, adding that there are signs that gators may have interfered with the body.

First responders had to move the body to a safe location, she added.

“At this time we cannot call it an alligator attack, simply that there were alligators around the body when we found it,” Fernandez told the station. “And that made it a little more difficult in getting to it.”

“In a case like this, we definitely want to check the shoreline so we’ve asked fire rescue to go around in the boat to see if maybe there are any personal effects, a backpack, information, a wallet,” she also told ABC Action News.

Otis Crawford and Patricia Kays, of St. Petersburg, discovered the body at around 8 a.m. local time on Thursday.

“It was hard to tell if it was a person or an animal,” Crawford told the Tampa Bay Times. “I got out of the car to make sure I was seeing what I was seeing.”

The couple then saw the alligators dragging the body, saying they began to eat it.

“I had to go back to the car after that. I couldn’t watch it anymore,” Kays said, adding that they told a city worker who then called the police.

Anyone with information about the case is being asked to call the St. Petersburg Police Department at 727-893-7780.

Another Case

A Florida man’s hand and foot were discovered inside the stomach of an alligator, said wildlife officials in late June 30.

The body of 45-year-old Michael Ford was discovered in a canal in Fort Meade, located about 50 miles east of Tampa last week, reported the Lakeland Ledger.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officials trapped and killed the alligator, which was about 12 feet in length and weighed 450 pounds, Fox35 in Orlando reported.

A necropsy of the gator found the hand and foot in its stomach.

“That can do a lot of damage. It is definitely a large gator,” wildlife official Ashley Tyer said.

His body was found in a canal near Peeples Road, and a 911 caller said there was a large alligator nearby.

The body was found on a piece of property owned by phosphate and potash mining company Mosiac. “A large alligator had a part of Ford’s body in his mouth” when a Mosaic employee found Ford’s body, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said, reported Patch.com.

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