Breauna Dorris has said she grew concerned when Sabrina Peckham did not show up for a visit on Friday and she then saw a report of a 13-foot alligator with a human torso in its mouth.
Ms Dorris, 23, said her mother was temporarily homeless and had been sleeping near a river where the alligator attack unfolded.
“The only thing that I could think of is ‘God, I hope that’s not her,’” she told the Tampa Bay Times.
“And then Friday evening, I get the knock at the door from the sheriff’s office.”
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said that a body was pulled from a canal in Largo on Friday after witnesses reported seeing an alligator with a corpse in its mouth.
The alligator was “humanely killed” and also pulled from the canal, authorities said.
The victim was later identified as 41-year-old Peckham with her cause of death still under investigation.
Ms Dorris said she last saw her mother on Thursday when she brought over presents for Peckham’s granddaughters, aged one and two.
“That’s the last thing that I have from her,” Ms Dorris said.
“She would tell me she loved me and ‘I’ll see you tomorrow.’ And nine times out of 10, she would come back the next day.”
The grieving daughter previously wrote on Facebook that her mother is believed to “have been walking to or from her campsite near the creek in the dark and the alligator attacked from the water”.
“Nobody deserves to die like this,” she wrote.
Ms Dorris visited the river site on Saturday morning while a GoFundMe appeal has so far raised more than $10,000 to pay for her mother’s funeral.
“There’s times that I just think about the good times that I’ve had with her and the memories that I’ve made with her,” she said, adding her mother was not a “homeless junkie”as had been locally commented.
“Other times, I can’t stop thinking about the pain and suffering she would have gone through.”
Ms Dorris added that the community has also provided toys for her children who sadly “probably won’t remember” their grandmother due to their age.
“But I’m going to do my best to make sure that they know who she was,” she said.