2-Year-Old Boy’s Body Found “Completely Intact” After Gator Attack at Disney Resort

ABC News Orlando Police chief Jerry Demings speaks to the media, June 15, 2016, about a body found believed to be that of a 2yr-old boy dragged into a lake by an alligator at a Disney resort.
ABC News
Orlando Police chief Jerry Demings speaks to the media, June 15, 2016, about a body found believed to be that of a 2yr-old boy dragged into a lake by an alligator at a Disney resort.

The body of the 2-year-old Nebraska boy who was attacked and dragged into a lake by an alligator at a Walt Disney World resort has been recovered, authorities said this afternoon.

The body of the toddler, identified by authorities as Lane Graves, was “completely intact” when it was found about 10 to 15 feet away from shore, according to Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings.

Members of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office dive team located the body around 1:45 p.m. and recovered it less than two hours later. The body has been turned over to the Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy, Demings told reporters.

Authorities will formally identify the body, but there is “no reason” to believe that the body recovered was not Lane, Demings noted.

Five alligators have been taken from the lake and euthanized, said Nick Wiley, executive director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation. He said there is a “good chance” one of these alligators attacked the boy. Investigators will analyze teeth marks to make a determination.

Disney has a “very proactive program” of routinely removing alligators that pose a threat, Wiley said. The company is in constant contact with the FWC to remove alligators, he added.

Demings informed the boy’s parents, Matt and Melissa Graves of Elkhorn, Nebraska, that their son’s body was found, calling it a “tough message to deliver.” A Catholic priest accompanied him to deliver the message, he said.

The family was “distraught but somewhat relieved” that authorities were able to locate their son with his body intact, Demings said.

George A. Kalogridis, president of Walt Disney World Resort, said in a statement that “there are no words to convey the profound sorrow we feel for the family and their unimaginable loss. We are devastated and heartbroken by this tragic accident and are doing what we can to help the family during this difficult time. On behalf of everyone at Disney, we offer our deepest sympathies.”

Rescue teams were initially hopeful that they would find the boy alive. The search for the boy’s body in the Seven Seas Lagoon, an artificial lake located on Disney property, lasted more than 16 hours.

Earlier today the resort had temporarily shuttered its beach areas and recreational marinas in the wake of the gator attack.

Demings said about 50 people from the sheriff’s office alone assisted in the recovery effort.

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SOURCE: ABC News – BRIAN MCBRIDE, MORGAN WINSOR, JULIA JACOBO