ORLANDO, Florida–The family of the 2-year-old boy who died after an alligator dragged him away at a Walt Disney World resort is speaking out for the first time.
In a statement to ABC News, Matt and Melissa Graves of Nebraska, said:
“Words cannot describe the shock and grief our family is experiencing over the loss of our son. We are devastated and ask for privacy during this extremely difficult time. To all of the local authorities and staff who worked tirelessly these past 24 hours, we express our deepest gratitude.”
Their son, Lane, died from drowning and traumatic injuries after being grabbed by the gator.
Authorities recovered the boy’s body intact Wednesday afternoon, less than 24 hours after he was snatched from the shore of a lake.
His family was vacationing at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa at Walt Disney World.
Now people are asking: In a state with an estimated 1 million alligators, how should theme parks and other attractions warn visitors, and did Disney do enough?
Disney beaches remained closed Thursday. The company says it is reviewing policies that do not currently include posting alligator warnings around park waters.
Local law enforcement and state wildlife officials have publicly praised the company for spotting and removing nuisance gators from park waters.
A Florida sheriff says charges are unlikely against the parents. Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings tells The Associated Press there was no indication that they committed any crime that contributed to the reptile grabbing their son.
Demings says 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 alligators.
Authorities say the boy waded into no more than 1 or 2 feet of water in the lagoon around nightfall Tuesday when he was taken from a small beach. The boy’s father desperately tried to fight off the gator, but couldn’t save his son.