Neighbors Welcome Home Parents of Toddler Killed in Gator Attack at Disney: 'You Never Expect Something Like That to Happen'
Neighbors decorated their castle-like home with blue and white balloons and tied blue ribbons around their stone mailboxes, trees and even a One-Way sign on the roundabout leading to their home in their neighborhood, a growing subdivision in the town that is about 20 minutes from Omaha.
“We did it to show our support,” a neighbor across the street, who refused to give her name, tells PEOPLE.
Stephen Robinson, a former neighbor of the Graves family who just moved out of the subdivision in March after nine years, was shocked by the tragedy that befell his friends.
“You never expect something like this to happen,” he tells PEOPLE.
Later Thursday, the Orange County Medical examiner released the autopsy results, saying Lane died as a result of drowning and traumatic injuries, the Orange County Medical Examiner has confirmed.
And the Graves family released a statement thanking local authorities and staff for all their efforts on their behalf.
Disney, meanwhile, says the beaches remain closed and it is “conducting a swift and thorough review of all of our processes and protocols.
“This includes the number, placement and wording of our signage and warnings,” said a statement from Jacquee Wahler, vice president of Walt Disney World Resort.
A Community in Mourning
Officials at St. Patrick s, the Catholic Church in Elkhorn where the family attend services and where Lane s four-year-old sister attends preschool, refused to comment but posted a statement on their website informing the congregation of the tragedy.
“It is with a heavy heart that we inform you of a tragic loss in one of our parish families,” the statement said. “Please honor their privacy at this time and keep them in your prayers.”
Stephen Robinson says the Graves have lived in the neighborhood for about three or four years.
“We’d wave and say hello,” he said. “They were always out playing with the kids,” he said. “They (the kids) would be in the yard and they’d be out with them.”
He and his wife, Candy, said they tended to see Melissa Graves with the kids most often.
“She did quite a bit outside,” he says. “We’d see her with the kids in the stroller out walking. They seem to be nice folks.”
The neighborhood of about 80 homes had several gatherings throughout the year that the Graves’s would frequently attend, including a Fun Days fun fair and Halloween festivities.
“They’re a very nice family,” Candy tells PEOPLE. “You could tell they loved their kids. They were always outside playing with the kids. She walked a lot and always took the kids with her.”
Matthew Wilhite, owner of Kingdom Strollers in Orlando, which rented a stroller to the family, tells PEOPLE: “Our hearts were heavy all night. You can only imagine that one minute you’re in paradise with your family getting ready for bed after a movie and in one second your life is changed forever.”
Additional reporting by Tiare Dunlap