Police in Florida are trying to figure out how a wild alligator ended up with a dead body. The identity of the victim is unknown.
Lakeland Police received a 911 call (you can listen below) on Tuesday afternoon following sightings of an alligator walking around the edge of a lake with a human body in its mouth.
"I noticed something bobbing in the water... At first, I thought it was a tire or something just from the looks of it,” a witness told local news WFLA Channel 8. “I noticed there was a gator on it because he kind of took it up and rolled it. ”
When police arrived on the scene the gator was still holding the deceased body in its jaws. On approaching it, the alligator let go of the body and swam away.
According to a statement by the Lakeland Police Department, the investigators have still not established the identity of the body, and so far have only figured out that the body was male and had been in the water for at least a day. It is also unknown whether the alligator killed the body or just found it. On the Sunday before the body was found, police also received a call from someone saying they saw “something large floating in Lake Hunter with an alligator circling it,“ but police couldn’t find anything suspicious.
A contract trapper from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission captured a 2.7 meter (9 foot) long alligator the following day, Tampa Bay Times reports. A medical examiner analysis showed that the alligator had human remains inside of its stomach, strongly implying this was the culprit.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says there were five fatalities from gator attacks in Florida between April 2016 and 2006.