List Details 26 Fatal Alligator Attacks Recorded In Florida Since 1973
By Space Coast Daily // June 17, 2016
BREVARD HOME TO longest GATOR ever recorded
The name “alligator” is a derivation from the Spanish word el lagarto, which means “the lizard,” and Florida has an estimated 1.3 million of them.
Brevard County has the distinction of being the home to the longest alligator ever recorded in Florida – a 14-foot 3-1/2 inch male found in Lake Washington. The Florida record for weight is a 1,043 pound (13 feet 10-1/2 inches long) male from Orange Lake in Alachua County.
Alligators and are found in all of Florida’s 67 counties and generally shy away from humans, but can get very defensive and aggressive when they feel threatened.
Gators can move quickly through water and lunge short distances very quickly, but are generally slow-moving on land. Alligators will eat just about anything, but their primary diet includes turtles, fish, birds, mammals and amphibians.
Below is a list of fatal alligator attacks that occurred in the United States since 1973:
Lane Graves, 2, June 14, 2016
An alligator snatched the 2-year-old boy and dragged him under water in the Seven Seas Lagoon on the evening of Tuesday, June 14, 2016, between 9 and 9:15 p.m. at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, as his father desperately tried to rescue him. The Orange County Sheriff’s office and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission conducted a search and recovery effort to locate the boy’s body, which was recovered on June 15, 2016, at approximately 1:45 p.m. His body, which was intact, was found about 10-15 yards away from the location of the attack. It is believed that he was drowned by the alligator, which was 4-7 feet long. It took authorities about 17 hours to find and recover the body.
Richard Zachary Taylor, 72, June 5, 2016
Police recovered Taylor’s body after a report of an alligator with a body in its mouth near Lake Hunter in Lakeland, Florida. A trapper responded a short time later and eventually caught the gator. Detectives don’t know if Taylor drowned or was killed by the reptile. Taylor’s body was decomposed, indicating he had been in the water a couple of days or longer. Remains found inside the alligator during a necropsy were a match to Taylor.
Matthew Riggins, 22, on or about November 13, 2015
A police dive team found the victim’s body in a pond in Micco,Florida Barefoot Bay community in Brevard County, Florida ten days after he was reported missing. Riggins, who had been burglarizing homes in the area, was attacked and partially eaten by an 11-foot (3.4 meters) alligator.
James Okkerse, 62, October 19, 2015
Killed while swimming/snorkeling by a 12-foot (3.7 meters) alligator at Blue Spring State Park near Orange City, Florida. The final cause of death was determined by the Volusia County medical examiner’s office in consultation with a forensic odontologist from a neighboring county who specializes in animal bites.
Tommie Woodward, 28, male July 3, 2015 Suffered severe trauma to a limb and was drowned by an alligator that attacked him at a marina in Orange County, Texas. Warning signs had been posted after the alligator had been spotted in the water, but Woodward ignored the signs and his friends’ pleas not to swim; he reportedly mocked the alligator just before jumping in.
Justo Padron, 36, November 13, 2007
A man fleeing police by jumping into a retention pond adjacent to the Miccosukee Resort and Convention Center was killed by a 9-foot 3-inch (2.8 m) alligator according to the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiners office. Padron and an accomplice were suspected of breaking into cars in the parking lot of the resort which is located at 500 SW 177th Ave. in southwest Miami-Dade County when police closed in.
Gwen Williams, 83, October 5, 2007
The body of this Canadian woman, who had been house sitting for her daughter, was spotted floating in a lagoon 500 feet (200 m) behind her daughter’s house by a couple riding by in a golf cart at The Landings on Skidaway Island, a development east of Savannah, Georgia. Autopsy results and an examination of the stomach contents during a necropsy of the animal suspected of killing her conclusively established that she had been attacked and killed by an 8-foot (2.5 m) alligator.
Annemarie Campbell, 23, May 14, 2006
Her body was pulled out of an alligator’s mouth by friends and relatives in a springhead at Juniper Wayside Park in the Ocala National Forest near Lake George in Marion County, Florida. She had been attacked while snorkeling. Autopsy results confirmed that Campbell died from drowning and multiple blunt-force injuries including lacerations on her head, neck and upper torso, and multiple rib fractures. Officials later captured and killed an 11-foot 4-inch (3.5 m), 407 pound alligator that they were able to positively identify as the one that attacked Campbell due to scratches around its eyes that she inflicted while attempting to defend herself.
Judy W. Cooper, 43, May 14, 2006
Her body was found in a canal near Oldsmar in Pinellas County, Florida, 20 miles (30 km) north of St. Petersburg. She had been in the water for about three days. Preliminary autopsy results indicated a fatal alligator attack. Her arm and hand were later recovered from an 8.5-foot (2.6 m) alligator.
Yovy Suarez Jiménez, 28, May 10, 2006
Construction workers found her dismembered body on this date floating in a canal between Markham County Park and State Road 84 in Sunrise, Florida. Authorities later captured the 9′ 6″ (3 m) alligator that killed her during her nightly jog on May 9 when she stopped to dangle her feet in the water of the canal. Officials were able to verify this because both her arms were found in the digestive tract of the animal during the necropsy. The Broward County medical examiner concluded that she was attacked on land and dragged into the canal.
Kevin Albert Murray, 41, July 15, 2005
Killed while swimming in the Apollo waterway in Port Charlotte, Florida by a 12′ 2″ (3.7 m) alligator.
Don Owen, 56, March 15, 2005
Fishermen discovered Owen’s body about 12 miles (19 km) from his Lakeland, Florida home. He had been missing since March 9. Trappers later caught an 8′ 9″ (2.7 m) alligator and recovered some of Owen’s body parts.
Michelle Reeves, 20, September 26, 2004
Killed by a 7′ 11″ (2.4 m) alligator while swimming in a retention pond at Lee Memorial Health Park in Lee County, Florida.
Janie Melsek, 54, June 21, 2004
Attacked by a 12′ 3″ (3.7 m) alligator while working on landscaping along Poinciana Circle Sanibel, Florida. She later died in surgery from an infection acquired from being in the water with open wounds.
Brian Griffin, 12, June 18, 2003
Killed by a 10′ 4″ (3.1 m) alligator while swimming in the Dead River near a boat ramp; the river connects Lakes Harris and Eustis in Lake County, Florida.
Robert Steele, 81, September 11, 2001
Attacked by an alligator while walking his dog on a trail between two wetland areas near the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel, Florida. Steele bled to death after his leg was bitten off below the knee.
Alexandria Murphy, 2, June 23, 2001
She wandered away from her fenced back yard and was killed 700 feet from her home on Lake Cannon in Polk County, Florida.
Samuel Wetmore, 70, May 4, 2001
Killed in a pond near his residence in Venice, Sarasota County, Florida by an 8′ 4″ (2.5 m) alligator. Wetmore suffered from dementia and had wandered from his home.
Adam Binford, 3, March 21, 1997
Killed by an 11-foot (3.4 m) alligator after straying outside a roped-off area in Lake Ashby, Volusia County, Florida. Wildlife officials shot the alligator, which was still holding the lifeless body of the boy 20 hours later.
Grace Eberhart, 70, October 3, 1993
Killed by one or more alligators at Lake Serenity, Sumter County, Florida. She died of a broken neck caused by an alligator bite to the throat and head.
Bradley Weidenhamer, 10, June 19, 1993
Killed while wading in the Loxahatchee River at Jonathan Dickinson State Park in Martin County, Florida.
Erin Glover, 4, June 4, 1988
Killed while walking along the shore of Hidden Lake, Charlotte County, Florida.
George Cummings III, 22, July 13, 1987
Killed while snorkeling in the Wakulla Springs State Park, Wakulla County, Florida by an 11-foot (3.4 m) alligator.
Paul Mirabito, 27, May 4, 1985
Killed while diving and harassing small alligators in a canal near West Palm Beach, Florida.
Robert Crespo, 11, August 6, 1984
Killed by a 12′ 4″ (3.8 m) alligator while swimming in a canal in St. Lucie County, Florida.
Phillip Rastrelli, 14, September 10, 1978
Killed while swimming across the Hidden River Canal off Bessie Creek in Martin County, Florida.
George Leonard, 52, September 28, 1977
Killed while swimming in the Peace River Canal, Charlotte County, Florida.
Sharon Holmes, 16, August 16, 1973
Killed while swimming at the Oscar Scherer State Park, Sarasota County, Florida by an 11′ 3″ (3.4 m) alligator.
– Information Courtesy of Wikipedia