Florida Officials Offer New Details on Disney Alligator Attack


Florida officials have found the body of the deceased 2-year-old boy, Lane Graves, who was dragged away by an alligator at a Disney World resort in Bay Lake, Florida.

During a press conference on Wednesday, June 15, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings confirmed the body was “completely intact” and said, “There’s no question in my mind the child was drowned by the alligator.”

Demings, along with a Catholic priest, personally delivered the news to Lane’s parents, Matt and Melissa Graves of Elkhorn, Nebraska. “Of course, the family was distraught but also somewhat relieved that we were able to find their son with his body intact, and … that he was located so they can come to grips with what has happened.”

In the shadow of the Magic Kingdom, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation officers search for a young boy Wednesday, June 15, 2016.
In the shadow of the Magic Kingdom, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation officers search for a young boy Wednesday, June 15, 2016. Red Huber/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images

More than 16 hours after the child went missing in the water, a dive team located his remains at 1:45 p.m. on Wednesday, June 15, in the “immediate area of where he was last seen.” His body was fully recovered by around 3:30 p.m. and turned over to the medical examiner’s office for an autopsy. “I’m going to estimate it was 10 to 15 yards out,” Demings said of the exact location. “What I was told was approximately six feet in the water.”

As Us Weekly previously reported, the family of four was enjoying an outdoor movie night, and the 2-year-old was wading in the water of the Seven Seas Lagoon at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa at around 9:16 p.m. when he was snatched by the gator. His parents jumped in and attempted to pry him from the gator’s mouth, but the child was dragged underwater. 

A boat belonging to the Orange County Sheriff's Office searches the Seven Seas Lagoon outside Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa near Orlando on June 15, 2016.
A boat belonging to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office searches the Seven Seas Lagoon outside Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa near Orlando on June 15, 2016. GREGG NEWTON/AFP/Getty Images

An extensive search for Lane began almost immediately, with more than 50 law enforcement officials, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission staff and Disney boats combing the area. Signage in the beach area warns guests against swimming, but there is no mention of danger from wildlife. Demings refused to comment on whether better signs should be put in place, and said he will leave it up to Disney to evaluate. Out of precaution, Disney closed all of its beaches after the attack.

While authorities were originally hopeful and vowed to continue searching until Lane was found, by Wednesday morning Demings said there was “no question” the child died and called the attack “not survivable.” He added that “Disney is doing everything it can to make the family comfortable.”

Now, experts will continue their efforts to identify the alligator in the fatal incident. Several gators have already been caught and taken out of the lake. “We’re going to make certain that we have the alligator that was involved and that we remove it from the lake,” Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Executive Director Nick Wiley said at the press conference. 

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