This is the two-year-old boy whose body has been recovered from a lagoon at the Walt Disney World resort in Orlando after he was snatched by an alligator on Tuesday night.
The body of Lane Graves was discovered ‘intact’ 17 hours after he was grabbed by the reptile while paddling in water 10 feet from the shore at the upscale Grand Floridian Resort & Spa close to the Magic Kingdom.
The boy and his marketing company executive father Matthew, 42, and mother Melissa, 38, of Elkhorn, Nebraska, had been in Seven Seas Lagoon, despite the ‘no swimming’ signs close by when the alligator struck.
However, the signs did not warn of alligators and Disney World is coming under increasing criticism for the lack of clear warnings – especially because the resort next door warns of alligators in the water.
Disney says it it ‘reviewing’ the signs at its resorts.
After the discovery of the body, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demmings said the boy’s parents are unlikely to be charged with any sort of neglect and added that the alligator likely drowned Lane and abandoned his body on the bottom of the lagoon.
Mr Graves had frantically tried to save his son after the gator snatched him, but he could not pry the toddler from the animal’s grasp – and the creature disappeared underwater, taking the child with it.
At a news conference last night, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings confirmed they had recovered the boy’s body.
And while it is yet to be identified, Deming said there was no reason to believe it was not Lane that was pulled from the man-made lagoon.
The Graves family were on the third day of their vacation in Orlando when tragedy struck on Tuesday night.
A search and rescue operation was launched immediately after the attack, but to no avail.
Rescuers had used sonar and floodlights to pursue their search overnight, as a helicopter hovered overhead. Firefighters stood on the water’s edge with infrared cameras scanning the water for the child.
After 15 hours of searching, the operation was called off after Demings said there was ‘no question’ the boy was alive.
During the search, wildlife officials caught and killed five alligators in the lake and they say they will now use forensics to determine whether they have already euthanized the gator responsible for the attack.
If not, officials promised to continue searching the lake for the creature.
‘His body was completely intact,’ Demings said. ‘The body has now been turned over to the Orange County medical office for an autopsy.
‘Of course, the family was distraught but also, I believe, somewhat relieved that we were able to find their son with his body intact,’ Demings added.
The Sheriff’s Office wrote on Twitter on Wednesday evening: ‘The Graves family appreciate the support they have received and have asked for privacy as they grieve the loss of their son.’
Anna Shymanski, a friend and coworker of Matt Graves, said she was ‘stunned and heartbroken’ by Lane’s death.
‘Matt’s family is the light of his life,’ she told the Sentinel. ‘And his family’s anguish is our own.’
Walt Disney Company chairman and CEO Bob Iger called Lane’s devastated family and also issued a statement offering his condolences.
‘As a parent and a grandparent, my heart goes out to the Graves family during this time of devastating loss,’ he said.
‘My thoughts and prayers are with them, and I know everyone at Disney joins me in offering our deepest sympathies.’
The discovery of his body came after a Disney lifeguard revealed to Daily Mail Online that the boy was 10 feet from the shore when he was snatched. It was previously reported that the boy was only in ankle-deep to a foot of water.
The employee told Daily Mail Online even at a distance of ten feet, the water is ‘not too deep’.
‘We have lifeguards on duty at the play area but at the beach we don’t have any lifeguards because you’re not supposed to be in the water,’ the lifeguard said.
The Disney worker said that the father was the first at the scene and then the lifeguards rushed in.
But nobody was able to save the child from the alligator, which was between four- and seven-feet long.
Ben Wilson, who is visiting Orlando from Indiana, saw the terrifying scene from the balcony of his Grand Floridian room – and said the attack unfolded in less than 30 seconds. Within a minute, the gator and the boy were gone.
At first, Wilson said it sounded like a fight had broken out.
‘I looked over and here comes one of the lifeguards,’ Wilson told the Orlando Sentinel.
‘He said ‘Everybody get out of the water.’ The mother was there and she was frantic, running up and down looking.’
Matthew Graves sustained lacerations to his arm trying to pull his son from the gator.
He is the chief data officer at tech company Infogroup, where he has worked since 2008, according to his LinkedIn page. He graduated with a degree in advertising from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has an MBA from Regis University.
He has also served as a board member for the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce.
The Chamber issued a statement expressing condolences on Wednesday. CEO and president David Brown said: ‘The loss of a child is a special kind of tragedy, particularly hard to comprehend.
‘Our thoughts and our prayers are with the Graves family during this time of unthinkable sadness. Matt has served on our Chamber Board since 2013. We stand ready to assist him, his wife and family as they grieve the loss of Lane.’
This article originally appeared on the Daily Mail.