The 2-year-old Nebraska boy snatched by an alligator at a lake in Walt Disney World and whose body was found Wednesday was one of 16 people killed in alligator attacks in Florida since 1997.
Here are the other 15 fatal encounters:
Nov. 23, 2015: Brevard County deputies determined that Matthew Riggins, 22, was killed by an alligator in a Barefoot Bay lake while possibly hiding to avoid law enforcement. Sheriff’s divers recovered his body with injuries consistent with an alligator attack nine days after he was reported missing by his girlfriend, who said he told her he was going to commit burglaries. A nearby alligator behaved aggressively toward the divers, and was trapped and euthanized.
Oct. 19, 2015: The body of 62-year-old James Okkerse was found floating in Blue Springs State Park in central Florida with injuries consistent with an alligator attack. It was the state’s first such fatal attack since 2007. A 12-foot alligator had been spotted in the lake twice the day before his body was found, forcing the park to close temporarily each time. Authorities shot the alligator after Okkerse’s body was found. Friends said he swam in the park every day.
Nov. 8, 2007: A man who jumped into a lake to flee police at the Miccosukee Resort and Convention Center was killed by an alligator more than 9 feet long. Tribal police divers found the body of Justo Antonio Padron, 36, the next afternoon, with alligator teeth marks on the upper torso. The alligator believed to be responsible was killed.
May 14, 2006: Near Lake George in the Ocala National Forest, the body of 23-year-old Annemarie Campbell was found sticking out of an alligator’s mouth by her friends, who beat the reptile until it released her. Campbell was a Tennessee visitor who was snorkeling in a secluded recreation area. An 11-foot-4-inch, 407-pound alligator that was confirmed to have killed her was euthanized.
May 13, 2006: On the same day Campbell’s body was found, the body of Judy W. Cooper, 43, was found in a canal 20 miles north of St. Petersburg, in Pinellas County. Trappers later caught and killed an 8-1/2-foot alligator that had some of her body parts in its belly.
May 10, 2006: The dismembered body of Yovy Suarez-Jimenez, 28, was found by construction workers in a canal in Broward County. She had toxic levels of alcohol and an anti-depression drug in her body, and authorities believed she was attacked on land and dragged into the canal.
July 15, 2005: An alligator more than 12 feet long grabbed 41-year-old Kevin Murray by the arm as he swam in Apollo Waterway and pulled him underwater as neighbors watched. A trapper later killed the alligator.
March 11, 2005: Donald Ray Owen, 56, was found dead in Six Pound Pond near Lakeland in Polk County with multiple alligator bites and the left arm amputated below the elbow. The 9-foot-8-inch male alligator responsible for the attack was caught and destroyed.
Sept. 26, 2004: Georgia college student Michelle Reeves, 20, drowned after an alligator bit off part of her right arm while she apparently went skinny-dipping in a lake in Fort Myers. An alligator was trapped and removed from the area.
July 23, 2004: Landscaper Janie Melsek, 54, died from a severe infection two days after she was mauled by a 12-foot, 457-pound alligator on Sanibel Island. The alligator dragged her into a pond, tearing at her right arm so severely that part of it was later amputated, and rescuers saved her from the reptile’s jaws in what was described as a fierce “tug-of-war.”
June 18, 2003: A 12-year-old boy was fatally mauled by an alligator while swimming with friends at Palm Gardens Marina, about 35 miles northwest of Orlando. Bryan Griffin was pulled under after friends repeatedly warned him to get out of the water. Trappers later killed 10 alligators in the Dead River, including one they decided was responsible.
Sept. 11, 2001, 82-year-old Robert Steele had his leg severed and bled to death when he was attacked by a 10-foot alligator while walking his dog by a canal on Sanibel Island. The alligator, found with the missing leg in his mouth, was destroyed.
June 23, 2001: A 2-year-old girl wandered from her Winter Haven backyard to a nearby lake and was killed by a 6 1/2-foot alligator. The body of Alexandria Murphy was found near the shoreline of Lake Cannon in Winter Haven an hour after her family reported her missing. A trapper killed the alligator suspected in the attack.
May 4, 2001: The chewed body of 70-year-old Samuel Wetmore was found floating in a south Sarasota County retention pond with an 8-foot alligator circling nearby. Wetmore suffered from dementia and was believed to have wandered away from his home.
March 22, 1997: An 11-foot alligator was discovered swimming protectively near the body of 3-year-old Adam Binford in a lake in Volusia County, a mile from where he had disappeared the day before. His mother told authorities he had been standing in knee-deep water picking water lilies for her. She heard a loud splash and when she turned around her son was gone. The 450-pound alligator was killed.
Sources: The Associated Press, except for the March 11, 2005, item from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU