Breaking News: Police Say Child Dragged Into Water By Alligator Near Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

Danny Cox - Author

Oct. 28 2016, Updated 3:47 a.m. ET

Tragic news out of Walt Disney World this evening as police are currently searching for an infant that was grabbed by an alligator and dragged into the water outside of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, a young child by the age of two was dragged into the Seven Seas Lagoon around 9:30 p.m., according to Orange County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Rose Silva. Currently, police have taped off the area and are searching the waters for the child.

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Helicopters are flying around overhead and search lights are being used in the darkened waters outside of the Grand Floridian Resort.

UPDATE – 4:35 p.m. EST

FWC says there “is a good chance we may already have the alligator,” but they are going to make sure that the gator is found and taken out of the lagoon.

Sheriff Demings says police found body in the “immediate area of where he was last found.”

An autopsy will need to confirm, but Sheriff Deminfs does believe that the gator caused the boy to drown and that was the cause of death.

UPDATE – 4:31 p.m. EST

The FWC has said the investigation is still ongoing and they will work on finding the alligator.

The family is appreciative of everyone’s efforts and thoughts at this tough time.

UPDATE – 4:25 p.m. EST

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Around 1:45 p.m., the dive team located what is believed to be the remains of the two-year-old boy. About 3:30 p.m., the remains were recovered from the water and turned over to coroner’s office.

The parents are Matt and Melissa Graves from Elkhorn, Nebraska and the child was Lane Graves. His body was found fully intact and the police will now go through formality of making proper identification, but no reason to believe it is not Lane Graves.

UPDATE – 4:10 p.m. EST

Police have revealed that the body of the two-year-old boy has been found, according to Local 10.

UPDATE – 12:15 p.m. EST

There is an active investigation still going on at this time, according to Sheriff Demings, and it will be done to help answer many of the questions coming their way from the media.

UPDATE – 12:11 p.m. EST

Sheriff Demings says they will continue to search until the body is found. There is hope that it will be found by the end of today, but if that needs to continue past today, then it will.

FWC is reporting that one more alligator has been found after the four found earlier this morning. FWC also says these alligators must be euthanized when found as they cannot relocate as it’s simply “relocating the problem.”

Sheriff Demings is still not releasing the name of the family involved in this tragic situation as they are being sensitive to their feelings and allowing them to contact family members back home.

Another briefing is scheduled for 6 p.m. EST unless any significant information is found out before then.

UPDATE – 12:09 p.m. EST

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Sheriff Demings says it is not possible for the child to have survived for this length of time.

Disney made a decision to close all other beaches on Walt Disney World property which is nine properties. This was done to keep guests safe and have them not exposed to something else at this time as the investigation continues. Disney has a full-time staff working with the FWC.

Disney has been very “pro-active” in working on patrolling the waters and doing what can be done to keep alligators out of their waters. Disney does everything “by the book” and has an “amazing program” for keeping guests safe and addressing any and all situations that may arise.

UPDATE – 12:07 p.m. EST

FWC states that alligator trappers and experienced personnel are out on the water of Seven Seas Lagoon and are helping the police and other teams in looking for the child.

Sheriff Demings says that “Disney has never had this type of thing happen before,” and that they do have a wildlife management service in place to keep guests safe.

UPDATE – 12:05 p.m. EST on June 15, 2016

Orlando Sheriff Demings says that it is indeed a “recovery” effort now and no longer a “rescue” effort as it has been some 15 hours since the child was pulled into the water. Around 50 members of law enforcement personnel are still actively searching for the child. Marine units are on the lake and using sonar equipment to try to locate the body of the child. Dive units were in the water earlier in the day.

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Disney is doing whatever they can to accommodate the family and make them comfortable.

UPDATE – 7:50 a.m. EST

The police are continuing their search this morning for the young boy. According to WESH, four alligators have been taken out of the lagoon, euthanized, and checked.

There has been no evidence found that any of the four were involved.

A helicopter is searching overhead once again as well.

UPDATE – 1:07 a.m. EST – Press conference held at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

At least 50 law enforcement personnel searching lake actively. Two marine units on lake searching for the child to “recover” at this point, according to Orlando Sheriff Demings. They are hoping for the best in these circumstances, but said they do have “challenges ahead of them at this time.”

A search will continue through the night and into the morning until a peaceful resolution can be found. Family is mother, father, and three children vacationing from Nebraska. It is a two-year-old male child.

Alligator trapper is on Seven Seas Lagoon with Orange County officers and Florida Wildlife Commission (FWC) to search for the child and the alligator.

The family was wading by the edge of the water when alligator came up and grabbed the child. The father did enter the water to try to grab the child, but was unsuccessful. Police have said that the mother did also enter the water to try to grab the child, but was also unsuccessful. Witnesses have given detailed accounts of things that took place during the incident.

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Father may have minor injuries such as scratches on his hands as he did actually make contact with the alligator.

Orlando Sheriff Demings has said that Disney is “completely cooperating” as their priority is “assisting the family and rescuing this child tonight.”

Sheriff Demings said the alligator is being described as “four feet to six or seven feet” as the exact size is not known at this time.

UPDATE at 12:32 a.m. EST

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UPDATE at 12:26 a.m. EST

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UPDATE at 12:14 a.m. EST

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UPDATE – 12:05 a.m. EST

Emergency vehicles are lining the entire front circle of Disney’s Grand Floridian as a helicopter with search lights is still flying around overhead.

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UPDATE – 11:27 p.m. EST

Orlando Sentinel has updated to report that witnesses have said they saw the young boy along the beach near the water. No eyewitnesses have said they actually saw the boy get dragged into the water.

UPDATE – 11:17 p.m. EST

News 13 is reporting locally on the TV news in Orlando that the 2-year-old child is still missing and the scene remains active as authorities are still attempting to locate the child.

UPDATE – 11:03 p.m. EST

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As of 10:35 p.m. EST, there has been no exact details revealed on the family such as their name or the name of the child. It is also not known if the child and his family were guests of the Grand Floridian Resort or were simply there to dine or visit.

Deputies are continuing to look through the water near the beaches and shores of the Grand Floridian with boats, helicopters, and search lights. Local Orlando news stations are working on getting crews out to the area to see if any more information can be found.

A Twitter user by the name of “ChristianTheMagician” was live-tweeting the events as they happened.

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All resorts at Walt Disney World have movie nights where inflatable screens are set up for families to watch Disney films. Throughout the week, a different movie will play each night as adults and children sit on the ground, on the beach, or in chairs to watch the film.

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WESH has confirmed as of 10:51 p.m. EST that the 2-year-old child is still missing as of this time and police are continuing their search.

Disney’s Grand Floridian is one of Walt Disney World’s deluxe resorts that opened in July of 1988 and is one of the most iconic on the property. One side of the resort has a walkway, street, and parking lot while the other is bordered by the beach and Seven Seas Lagoon.

Two other Disney resorts sit on Seven Seas Lagoon – Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and Disney’s Contemporary Resort. The Grand Floridian is one of the closest to Magic Kingdom park which is accessible by the monorail system.


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