Bonnie Walker, a 90-year-old Charleston resident, was discovered near a pond just hours after she was reported missing. Walker died from "multiple sharp and blunt force injuries," and an alligator was pulled from the pond two days after the woman's body was found.
“Based on what we found in the necropsy, which we turned over to the coroner's office for evidence, we have the correct gator,” Department of Natural Resources spokesman Sam Chappelear said, WXIA reported.
Walker’s death was reportedly the first alligator-related death in South Carolina’s history.
“It’s the first one as far as we’ve been keeping records,” Department of Natural Resources spokesman Robert McCullough told the Post and Courier.
Authorities believe that Walker slipped and fell down an embankment, then landed in the water. The fall was believed to have attracted the alligator’s attention.
“The injuries are consistent with those which could be inflicted by an alligator and our investigation has confirmed that an alligator was involved in the decedent’s death,” coroner Rae Wooten said.
The woman was reported missing from Brookdale Charleston -- a facility that has a history of complaints but very few violations.
“Our thoughts continue to be with Ms. Walker’s family,” said Brookdale public relations director Kristin Puckett.
“We are cooperating with the authorities regarding [this] tragic event. ... Additionally, we will continue to work closely with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control to address their recommendations.”
Puckett did not offer an explanation as to how Walker ended up outside, or whether or not the woman was in a facility for residents with dementia.