Alligator that killed 12-year-old caught

Saturday, June 21, 2003

TAVARES, Fla. -- Trappers caught and killed three more alligators from the Dead River on Friday, including one that had killed a 12-year-old boy, investigators said.

Trappers already had killed and removed eight alligators from the narrow river where Bryan Griffin was pulled under while swimming with friends at the Palm Gardens Marina, about 35 miles northwest of Orlando.

Investigators thought one of that group had killed Bryan, but said later they're convinced that a 10-foot, 4-inch, 339-pound alligator pulled from the canal Friday morning was the culprit.

"He exhibited the same characteristics as the one that killed the boy," said Lt. Nick Pallitto, a spokesman for the Lake County Sheriff's Office. "He was coming up to the dock. He wasn't afraid."

Late Friday, the medical examiner's office confirmed that injuries on the boy were consistent with the jaws and teeth of that alligator.

The carcasses were shipped to the medical examiner's office where their stomachs and teeth were examined.

Friends who were swimming with Bryan said they had told him to get out of the water when they spotted the alligator, but he didn't heed their warnings.

Since 1948, there have been 325 documented alligator attacks on humans in Florida, including 12 fatal attacks, according to the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission. This was the first ever recorded in Lake County.

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