A 13-foot-8.5-inch alligator was euthanized by authorities in the Tampa Bay, Florida, area after it was seen with human remains in its mouth.
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said it removed the large alligator from the waterway after responding to a report of a human body seen in a canal in unincorporated Largo on Friday afternoon, according to a news release.
The alligator was “humanely killed” with the assistance of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FCW).
Jamarcus Bullard, who contacted police after seeing the human remains in the alligator’s jaws, described spotting the alligator to local station WFLA.
“I threw a rock at the gator just to see if it was really a gator, and it pulled the body, like it was holding on to the lower part of the torso, and pulled it under the water,” Bullard said.
He went on to detail watching authorities corral the alligator after the shocking encounter.
“They spotted it over here on this side,” Bullard told the local outlet. “And they got this long stick thing, pulled the head out of the water, then they shot it. And once they reeled it all the way out, they stretched it out and measured it 13 feet long, and they shot it again.”
The victim was publicly identified as 41-year-old Sabrina Peckham, officials said in an updated press release on Saturday.
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said the Medical Examiners Office is investigating the victim’s manner and cause of death.
American alligators are typically found in freshwater lakes, slow-moving rivers and sometimes in brackish water habitats, but rarely in salt water, according to the FWC.
From 1948 to 2021, 26 people were fatally killed in alligator attacks in Florida, according to the agency.