The parents of the 2-year-old child who died after being snatched by an alligator at a Disney World resort in Florida on June 14 will likely not be charged with a crime, police said.
Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings told The Associated Press there was no evidence that Matt and Melissa Graves, the parents of the 2-year-old victim, Lane, committed a crime or were in any way responsible for the incident.
In terms of neglect, "there's nothing in this case to indicate that there was anything extraordinary,” Demings said.
Matt was with his son at the Seven Seas Lagoon, next to the Magic Kingdom theme park in Orlando, Florida. The Seven Seas Lagoon is a 200-acre man-made lagoon that used to be wetlands too swampy to further develop, according to the Palm Beach Post. Swimming isn't allowed in the lagoon and a Disney employee said there are warning signs.
“I don’t know how many, they are usually posted by where a guest may be near the water ... so the beach area and sometimes if there is a grass area where guests can walk to,” the Disney employee, who did not want to be named, told the Palm Beach Post.
Reports indicate that Matt was at the edge of the water with his son when the alligator attacked.
"There were eyewitnesses who certainly saw the child taken under the water," Demings said, according to USA Today. "We know that that happened and it is certainly not survivable at this point for him to have been submerged for that period of time."
Lane's body was found the next day, not far from where he had been taken.
Nonetheless, online commenters criticized the parents for being neglectful.
“When are people going to learn common sense?” one person said, according to Ashlee Coffey, editor of Momaha.com.
“This was so unnecessary. Just obey the signs,” another said.
But Coffey said people should be more sympathetic to the grieving parents.
“This was a Nebraska family probably enjoying a family vacation that went tragic,” she wrote. “Yes, we all know that Florida is full of alligators. But this was a man-made lagoon on a Walt Disney World resort -- perhaps the parents thought that made it safer.”
She added: “So how about we stop judging? How about we stop using harsh words toward people we don’t know, people who are going through an absolutely awful nightmare that no one would wish upon their worst enemy.”