Alligator scene 911 caller: 'I got a dead body over here in the lake'
LAKELAND (FOX 13) - The Polk County Medical Examiner now says the alligator trapped and killed yesterday in Lakeland is the same one spotted with a man's body in its mouth. Meanwhile, police are still working to identify the man.
This morning, investigators released the 911 call reporting yesterday's gruesome scene. A construction worker at a senior living facility was talking with some coworkers near the bank Lake Hunter. He noticed what he first thought was a tire bobbing up and down near this drainage pipe, and then he saw it was a body in the mouth of a 9-foot alligator.
Joe Diaz told the 911 dispatcher that the gator was aggressively pulling the man's body toward the drainage pipe.
"Hurry up! I got a dead body over here in the lake," he says on the 911 call. "Looks like an alligator's trying to pull him down under."
"And you're sure he's dead?" the dispatcher asks.
"Oh it's dead for sure," Diaz replies. "The smell of it's amazing."
When emergency workers got there, the alligator swam away. Investigators did get the man's body out of the water. They have yet to identify him and they don't know how he ended up in the lake.
Florida Fish & Wildlife hired a trapper to look for the suspect gator. They trapped and killed one, and now that a necropsy confirmed human remains in its stomach, the search for alligators at the lake will stop.
Diaz, meanwhile, says he still can't believe the whole thing.
"You see it on TV. It looked like a CSI episode," he recalled. "But yeah, [I was] shocked. My eyeballs were kind of just beside me at that point."