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from St. Petersburg Times Online


Alligator that killed 12-year-old caught, removed from Dead River

Associated Press, June 20, 2003 - 05:54 PM


Trappers killed and removed three more alligators from the Dead River on Friday, including one that killed a 12-year-old boy late Wednesday, investigators said.

Trappers already had killed and removed eight alligators from the narrow river, where Bryan Griffin was pulled under while swimming with friends at the Palm Gardens Marina, about 35 miles northwest of Orlando.

Investigators earlier had said they thought one of those eight had killed Bryan, but said later that they're convinced that a 10-foot, 4-inch, 339-pound alligator pulled from the canal Friday morning was the culprit.

"He exhibited the same characteristics as the one that killed the boy," said Lt. Nick Pallitto, a spokesman for the Lake County Sheriff's Office. "He was coming up to the dock. He wasn't afraid."

Late Friday, the medical examiner's office confirmed that injuries on the boy were consistent with the jaws and teeth of that alligator.

"Based on all available information ... we believe the responsible alligator has been removed from the Dead River," the medical examiner's office said in a report.

The other two alligators trapped Friday were about 8 feet long, Pallitto said.

The carcasses were shipped to the medical examiner's office where their stomachs and teeth were examined.

Friends who were swimming with Bryan said they had told him to get out of the water when they spotted the alligator, but he didn't heed their warnings.

Since 1948, there have been 325 documented alligator attacks on humans in Florida, including 12 fatal attacks, according to the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission. This was the first ever recorded in Lake County.

Copyright St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.

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