Society

Officials: Disney Alligator Death Not A Criminal Act

| by Zara Zhi
Lane GravesLane Graves

A 2-year-old boy's death from an alligator attack at a Walt Disney resort in Orlando, Florida, on June 14 has been deemed as noncriminal by officials.

The investigation is ongoing, but “It’s not criminal in nature at this time,” said Orange County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Rose Silva.

On June 14, a young boy from Omaha, Nebraska was snatched by an alligator while playing near a man-made lake at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. The toddler was playing in about 6 inches to 1 foot of water when the alligator attacked, according to NBC News.

The boy's parents, Matt and Melissa Graves, tried in vain to free the boy from the reptile's grip, but it was too late.

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Police divers retrieved the boy's remains the next day and were able to identify the child as Lane Graves.

The coroner’s office stated that, "The cause of death was ruled as a result of drowning and traumatic injuries."

Experts say alligators often roll their victims under the water until the prey stops breathing and then hoard the body to eat later.

Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said, "It was a tough message to deliver to them, to let them know that at this point, their child is dead. Of course, the family was distraught but also I believe somewhat relieved that we were able to find their son ... so they can come to grips with what has happened.”

A Disney representative said the corporation would review the posted signs that ban swimming in Seven Seas Lagoon. The signs do not explicitly caution visitors about alligators.

The company says Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Bob Iger communicated with the family via phone on June 15 to express his condolences, according to Reuters.

Jacquee Wahler, a Disney spokesperson, said on June 16 that resort beaches closed following the attack would continue to be off-limits to guests until further notice.  

"All of our beaches are currently closed, and we are conducting a swift and thorough review of all of our processes and protocols," Wahler said in a statement. "This includes the number, placement and wording of our signage and warnings."

Sources: Reuters, NBC News / Photo credit: Orange County Sheriff’s Department/Twitter

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