The parents of 2-year-old Lane Graves, who was killed last month by an alligator at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, say they do not intend to sue the amusement park.
Matt Graves and his wife Melissa released a statement on Wednesday explaining their decision.
“Melissa and I are broken,” the grieving parents said. “We will solely be focused on the future health of our family and will not be pursuing a lawsuit against Disney. We will forever struggle to comprehend why this happened to our sweet baby, Lane. As each day passes, the pain gets worse, but we truly appreciate the outpouring of sympathy and warm sentiments we have received from around the world.”
Lane Graves’ tragic death came after he was pulled under water at a beach near Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa on June 14 as his parents looked on terrified. Although Matt jumped in the water and tried to wrestle the alligator to set his son free, his attempts were in vain and he was attacked by a second alligator while he tried desperately to save his little boy. The Graves family, of Elkhorn, Nebraska, had been vacationing at the Seven Seas Lagoon near the Grand Floridian prior to Lane’s death.
Family of 2-year-old Lane Graves who was killed by an alligator at a Disney said they don’t plan on suing Disney pic.twitter.com/wS7PozWoiu
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According to NBC News, Lane’s body was found the next day still intact. The medical examiner labeled the cause of death as drowning and traumatic injuries. Several days later, Disney World announced they would be putting up new signage and barriers on the beaches of its resorts. There were “No Swimming” signs up on the day Lane was attacked by the alligator, but there were no signs warning that there may be alligators in the water. The new signs read, “Beware! There are alligators and snakes in the area.” Walt Disney World Resort Vice President Jacquee Wahler said Disney is also “working on permanent, long-term solutions at our beaches,” ABC News reports.
“We continue to evaluate processes and procedures for our entire property, and as part of this, we are reinforcing training with our cast for reporting sightings and interactions with wildlife and are expanding our communication to guests on this topic,” Wahler added.
The FWC said they were confident the alligator responsible for the attack had been removed from the waters and euthanized. They said they were able to correctly identify the alligator based on “expert analyses and observations by staff with extensive experience in investigating fatal alligator bite incidents.”
Walt Disney World Resort President George Kalogridis issued a statement on Wednesday following the Graves’ announcement.
“In the wake of this tragic accident, we continue to provide ongoing support for the family, which includes honoring their request for privacy,” he said.
Disney Gator Attack — Family Will NOT Sue – Lane Thomas Graves’ parents say they’re not going to sue Disney ov… https://t.co/ET176FDGyM
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Following the death of Lane, Matt and Melissa decided they wanted to do something to keep their son’s spirit alive, so they created the Lane Thomas Foundation to honor his memory. Donations that are made to the foundation are being sent to various charitable organizations.
“We know that we can never have Lane back, and therefore, we intend to keep his spirit alive through the Lane Thomas Foundation,” they said. “It is our hope that through the foundation we will be able to share with others the unimaginable love Lane etched in our hearts. For now, we continue to ask for privacy as we focus on our family.”
[Photo via Lane Thomas Foundation]