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Body of Lane Graves found 10 to 15 yards from the shore, sheriff says

Sheriff says he believes boy drowned after being pulled into water by alligator

Family sends appreciation to public, asks for privacy

Lake Buena Vista, Florida CNN  — 

A 2-year-old boy pulled by an alligator into a lagoon near a Walt Disney World hotel has been found dead, authorities said.

An Orange County dive team found Lane Graves’ body intact about 1:45 p.m., not far from where he was grabbed Tuesday night, Sheriff Jerry Demings said Wednesday.

His body had only a few puncture wounds, according to a source familiar with the investigation.

“Of course, the autopsy has to confirm that, but there is likely no question in my mind that the child was drowned by the alligator,” Demings said.

He said the body was found in 6 feet of murky water 10 to 15 yards from where the boy was attacked.

The fact that the body was found intact makes sense, said Jeff Corwin, host of “Ocean Mysteries” on ABC.

“That gator came in, grabbed that boy, pulled him, the dad startled that gator, the gator let him go and then the boy drowned,” he said.

Alligators don’t swim that far – they sink into the murky water and lurk there – which explains why the father did not see the boy when he jumped into the water to try and save him, Corwin said.

The boy’s parents are from Elkhorn, Nebraska, and were identified as Matt and Melissa Graves.

“The Graves family appreciates the support they have received and have asked for privacy as they grieve the loss of their son,” the sheriff’s department tweeted.

 Lane Graves

Matt Graves is the chief data officer at Omaha Infogroup, a company that provides technology solutions, CNN affiliate KETV reported.

Demings said the Graves were distraught yet relieved that this was not a protracted search.

He said he brought a priest with him when breaking the news to the parents, who are Catholic.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Executive Director Nick Wiley said the alligator may have already been caught, but that has not yet been confirmed.

“We’re going to make certain that we have the alligator that was involved, and that we remove it from the lake,” he said.

Unprovoked alligator attacks in Florida (1948-2016)


  • The number of attacks that required medical care
  • 23
  • People who died as a result of those attacks
  • 8
  • Number of children (16 and under) among the 23 deaths
  • 1977