Lakeland alligator trapped after being found with body in mouth
Lakeland alligator trapped after being found with body in mouth

Lakeland alligator trapped after being found with body in ‘mouth’

LAKELAND — Trappers were able to capture the 9-foot alligator they believed was spotted with a body in its mouth in Polk County, officials said Wednesday.

The Lakeland Police Department on Wednesday released a recording of the call.

“I’d hurry up, I’ve got a dead body over here in the lake,” the caller, who was not identified, said. “It looks like an alligator is trying to pull him down under.”

Police did not immediately know whether the alligator killed the individual or if he was already dead.

When the caller reported his discovery to the 911 operator, he said the man was clearly no longer alive.

“You’re sure he’s dead?” the operator asked.

“Oh, it’s dead, for sure,” the caller said.

Once emergency personnel arrived at the lake, in the area of Lake Hunter Drive and Cresap Avenue, they spotted the alligator, which let go of the body and swam off, officers said.

The alligator was apparently not happy about giving up the body and circled the area for about an hour, police said.

As detectives searched the area looking for evidence that could explain how the man ended up dead in the lake, a trapper arrived and trapped the alligator, LPD said.

Investigators said that when the man’s body was pulled from the water, the state of its decomposition led them to believe that it had been there for more than a day.

A Medical Examiner said the remains found inside a 9-foot alligator were those of a human being. The manner and cause of death is still undetermined.

It was not the first time that LPD was called to the lake in recent days.

A resident reported seeing a shirt in the water on Saturday with a pair of pants and a backpack nearby in the area of the Lake Hunter boat ramp off Sikes Boulevard, LPD said.

A week earlier, an aggressive alligator was seen at the ramp, the resident said.

Police found nothing in that case.

LPD was called again on Sunday when a resident reported seeing an alligator circling a suspicious object in the lake.

Again, officers responded and were not able to locate anything out of the ordinary, LPD said.


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