A 14-foot alligator was reportedly spotted carrying a dead body in its mouth on Friday afternoon in a Florida waterway.
The witness who observed this alerted authorities, leading to a response by deputies around 1:50 p.m.
The sighting occurred near Ridgecrest Park in Largo, Clearwater, which surrounds a 5-acre lake, according to reports frin Bay News 9.
Deputies discovered a deceased adult woman along with the 13-foot, 8.5-inch alligator. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission humanely killed the alligator and loaded it into a truck.
Following the alligator’s removal, the PSCO dive team retrieved the remains of the deceased woman.
According to Jennifer Dean, a resident of the area, numerous alligators are typically present, but none as large as the one involved in this incident.
Dean mentioned that while she was at the scene, she heard gunshots, presumably when the alligator was put down.
JaMarcus Ballard, another witness, confirmed that emergency personnel shot the alligator several times after removing it from the water.
Ballard mentioned that he started recording when he noticed the alligator carrying a body. He then went in person to the local fire department to report the incident.
On Sunday, the remains were identified as Sabrina Peckham, a 41-year-old homeless woman living in the area.
Two months before her death, Peckham was arrested on July 14 for trespassing on a county wetland just half a mile from where her remains were found, according to local outlet WFLA.
This was not the first time she was apprehended for trespassing, as she has multiple misdemeanors dating back to 2014, as per records. Peckham also had a history of theft convictions and encounters with the police.
Peckham’s daughter, Breauna Dorris, spoke up on social media to defend her mother, suggesting that she may have been attacked by an alligator while walking to her homeless camp in the dark.
According to a Facebook post by Dorris, her mother, Sabrina Peckham, was a member of the homeless community residing in the nearby wooded area.
She speculated that Peckham might have been walking to or from her campsite near the creek when the alligator attacked her from the water.
“Some details I would like to share is that my mother did not ‘taunt’ the alligator as some are saying in the news outlets comments,” she wrote on Facebook.
“We expected to have many many more years with her. Unfortunately god has called her home sooner than our hearts were ready,” Doris added.
She noted that the family does not have all the information surrounding her mother’s untimely demise, as the Pinellas County Medical Examiner’s Office still needs to conduct an autopsy to determine the time and cause of death.