'We Are Devastated,' Says Family of Toddler Killed by Alligator at Disney World
The autopsy confirming the boy's identity as 2-year-old Lane Graves of Elkhorn, Nebraska was completed on Thursday afternoon
brightcove.createExperiences(); The toddler who was snatched by an alligator at a Disney resort in Orlando, Florida, on Tuesday, died as a result of drowning and traumatic injuries, the Orange County Medical Examiner has confirmed.
The autopsy confirming the boy’s identity as 2-year-old Lane Graves of Elkhorn, Nebraska was completed on Thursday afternoon. The results were released by Orange County via Twitter.
The Graves family said that they were “devastated” and asked for privacy in a statement to ABC News.
“Words cannot describe the shock and grief our family is experiencing over the loss of our son. We are devastated and ask for privacy during this extremely difficult time,” the statement says. “To all of the local authorities and staff who worked tirelessly these past 24 hours, we express our deepest gratitude.”
On Friday, the Orange County Medical Examiner’s office revealed that the body was released back to the family.
“Arrangements are underway to bring him home to Nebraska,” the statement continued.
Lane Graves was playing in about six inches to one foot of water in the Seven Seas Lagoon at Disney’s the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa when an alligator grabbed the boy and pulled him under the water.
The boy’s father tried desperately to fight off the gator, suffering lacerations on his hand, but neither he nor a lifeguard from a nearby pool could save the boy.
“We are working on recovering the body of the child at this point,” Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said at a press conference Wednesday.
He added that the boy’s family would “no question lose a 2-year-old child.”
On Wednesday afternoon, the boy’s body was recovered fully intact by a dive team just yards away from where the attack occurred.
The boy’s parents have been identified as Matt and Melissa Graves of Elkhorn, Nebraska – a suburb of Omaha.
“The Graves family appreciate the support they have received and have asked for privacy as they grieve the loss of their son,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement shortly after releasing the first photo of their son.
Matt Graves sits on the board of the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, which released a statement Wednesday afternoon.
“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,” Chamber president and CEO David Brown said. “We stand ready to assist [Matt], his wife and family as they grieve the loss of Lane.”
Disney released a statement shortly after the body was recovered. “There are no words to convey the profound sorrow we feel for the family and their unimaginable loss,” George A. Kalogridis, president of Walt Disney World Resort said in the statement. “We are devastated and heartbroken by this tragic accident and are doing what we can to help them during this difficult time.”