After gator attack, search for body yields another body in Florida pond

Published May 10 2018
Updated May 10 2018

ORLANDO — A body recovered in a retention pond is not that of a teenage boy who, witnesses say, was attacked by an alligator.

In a series of tweets Thursday morning, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the recovery of a female body at about 6:30 a.m. in the retention pond, about 50 yards from the shoreline.

The body did not show signs of any marks that would indicate an attack by an alligator or other wildlife, the Sheriff’s Office said.

It is possible the woman was homeless, the agency said.

The recovery of the body comes a day after a teenager who was said to be yelling and flailing before sinking into the water, witnesses told WFTX-TV Fox 4 in Fort Myers.

Eric Wolf told Fox 4 he had been watching the boy with binoculars when he saw him yelling that something had bitten him.

"He yelled something bit me, a lot of thrashing around and that’s all. He kept yelling it," Wolf told the TV station. "Then he disappeared."

Wolf said alligators are common in that retention pond.

More than a dozen emergency vehicles and several helicopters responded to the scene, Fox 4 reported. Air boats and alligator removal units also responded. Although authorities haven’t yet found the swimmer, the original call was "credible," said sheriff’s spokesman Jeff Williamson.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Chad Weber told Fox 4 the case was being treated as a missing person and "possible drowning," but not yet as an alligator attack. "Right now, we’re just assisting the Orange County Sheriff’s Office with a potentially missing person. We’re not even sure if there’s an alligator involved," he said.

Authorities said a 6-foot alligator was found during a search of the pond — too small to inflict serious damage on a human.

The Sheriff’s Office’s investigation into the woman’s death and boy’s disappearance is continuing.

Information from the Orlando Sentinel was used in this report.

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