A Florida woman is believed to be dead after an alligator attack in Davie, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
Investigators killed a 12-foot, 6-inch alligator that was captured near the scene of the woman’s disappearance and found evidence that the reptile had bitten the woman, the FWC said Friday. Local broadcaster WPLG reported that a human arm was found inside the animal, but the FWC would not confirm those details to The Washington Post.
FWC spokesman Rob Klepper identified the woman as 47-year-old Shizuka Matsuki of Plantation, Fla.
“The FWC believes that the victim is deceased,” Klepper said in a statement to The Washington Post. “We will continue recovery efforts on the lake with local authorities.”
A witness saw Matsuki walking two dogs near a pond at Silver Lakes Rotary Park and contacted police when they saw the dogs alone and unattended, according to the FWC.
“[Matsuki’s] dogs won’t leave the pond,” Davie Police Maj. Dale Engle told the Sun-Sentinel. “One of her dogs got bit by the gator.”
Matsuki’s neighbors remembered her as a “soccer mom” who walked her dogs every morning.
“They’re really nice people,” Anthony Anderson told The Sun-Sentinel about Matsuki and her husband.
Florida wildlife officials have logged 401 “unprovoked bite incidents” from 1948 to 2017, according to a fact sheet published in 2017. At least 24 of those incidents resulted in fatalities, according to the report.
A 2-year-old boy was killed by an alligator at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa in 2016. The boy’s death garnered headlines around the world and spurred questions about warning signs at the property in Bay Lake, Fla.