No charges against parents of toddler taken by alligator at a Walt Disney World beach

A sheriff said charges are unlikely against a Nebraska couple after an alligator killed their two-year-old son by snatching him out of shallow water at a Walt Disney World beach, but the entertainment giant is reviewing whether to add alligator warning signs.

Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said there was no indication Will and Melissa Graves of suburban Omaha, Nebraska, committed any crime that contributed to the reptile grabbing their son, Lane Graves.

“There’s nothing in this case to indicate that there was anything extraordinary” in terms of neglect by the parents, Demings said.

Demings said his department and the state wildlife agency would look into the issue of signs around Seven Seas Lagoon, where Disney had posted “no swimming” signs but no warnings about the presence of alligators.

Searchers removed five of the reptiles from the water while looking for the child, who was attacked at a small beach area near nightfall Tuesday.

A Disney representative, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Disney would “thoroughly review” the sign issue in the future. Beaches that were closed during the search remained off limits to visitors, the company said.

Demings said it appeared the alligator drowned the child and left the body near the spot where he was last seen. An autopsy was planned.

“Of course the family was distraught, but also I believe somewhat relieved that his body was found intact,” Demings said.


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