A two-year-old Nebraska boy was snatched by an alligator and drowned in a man-made lagoon at a Disney resort in Florida.
Divers recovered the body of two-year-old Lane Graves Wednesday afternoon.
The alligator attacked Tuesday night, taking the child into the water as his parents, Matt and Melissa Graves of Elkhorn, vainly attempted to rescue Lane.
“We just want to say that our thoughts and prayers are with this family on behalf of our entire agency and we are terribly heart-broken at this outcome,” Nick Wiley with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservative Commission told reporters during a news conference in Orlando.
Wiley said he believes the alligator has been captured, one of five taken after the incident.
Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said the alligator took Lane as he waded in the water.
“Of course the autopsy has to confirm that, but there’s no question in my mind the child was drowned by the alligator,” Demings said.
The Graves family was taking their vacation at a Disney resort near the Magic Kingdom. The parents were wading in the water along the Seven Seas Lagoon when the alligator snatched Lane around 9:30 Tuesday evening. The alligator immediately took the child under water.
Matt Graves attempted to rescue his son to no avail. Melissa Graves attempted to find him, but couldn’t.
Lane’s four-year-old sister was in a nearby playpen and was unharmed.
Disney closed all of its resort beaches in wake of the tragedy.
About 50 personnel responded, first in a search and rescue mission, then in a recovery mission. Divers located the remains at 1:45pm (ET) near where the attack occurred. The remains were recovered at 3:30pm.
Sheriff Demings and a Catholic priest broke the news to the parents that the body of their boy had been found.
“Of course, the family was distraught, but also I believe somewhat relieved that we were able to find their son with his body intact.”
An autopsy will be performed. The formal investigation into the incident continues.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [1 min.]