The Lakeland Police Department made a gruesome discovery on Tuesday afternoon after they responded to a 911 call on Lake Hunter Drive. Officers arrived at the scene and discovered what appeared to be a human body in the mouth of an alligator just off the shoreline of Lake Hunter. From the Lakeland PD Facebook page:
The alligator let go of the body and swam off, circulating the area for approximately one hour. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Officers responded to the scene and notified a contract trapper, who also responded. Detectives canvassed the area in an attempt to find anything of evidentiary value that may assist in identifying the body.
At this time, the preliminary investigation reveals that the body is a male subject, unknown age. In addition, it appears as if the body was in the water more than one day due to the decompensition [sic] of the body. The investigation into the death is ongoing and the body will be transported to the Medical Examiner’s Office.
On Saturday, the police received a call from someone reporting a shirt in the water and a pair of pants and a backpack on the shore on the opposite side of Lake Hunter (about 0.8 miles away). The caller said that there had been an aggressive alligator near the boat ramp that week. Officers searched the area but did not observe any humans or alligators in the water or the in immediate area. The Lakeland Fire Department also searched the lake with a boat that morning, but cleared the lake when they found no cause for concern.
On Sunday police received another call, this time “from a citizen stating that they observed something large floating in Lake Hunter with an alligator circling it.” Again, officers searched the area, unable to locate anything suspicious.
Lakeland police say that “at this time, there are no additional leads and the identity of the decedent is still unknown.”