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24th Sep 2023

13-foot alligator caught carrying lifeless human body down canal in Florida

Steve Hopkins

The victim has been named as 41-year-old Sabrina Peckham

A 13-foot (almost 4m) alligator was killed after being spotted dragging human remains down a canal by a passerby.

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said officers responded to an area near 134th Avenue North and 121st Street in Ridgecrest, Florida, on Friday after getting reports of a body in the waterway, FOX 13 reported.

Jamarcus Bullard told NBC affiliate WFLA of Tampa that he saw what he thought was an alligator in the water, but what he discovered really shocked him:

“I threw a rock at the gator just to see if it was really a gator and like it pulled the body, like it was holding on to the lower part of the torso, and pulled it under the water,” he said.

Stunned, Bullard said he started recording on his cell phone and contacted authorities.

He also told Spectrum Bay News 9: “I could tell there was a body in his mouth, so I started recording. I came down to the fire department and reported it to them.”

The remains of an adult were also recovered and the victim was publicly identified Saturday as 41-year-old Sabrina Peckham.

The cause and manner of her death is being investigated.

The New York Post reported that Peckham, who was homeless, was caught by Pinellas County deputies around 6:30am on July 14 for trespassing onto county wetland just half a mile from where she was found dead Friday.

Peckman ignored posted signage warning against unlaw entry, court records showed. After pleading no contest to the misdemeanour, she was released from the county on September 8 and ordered to pay $500, the Post reported.

It is not clear where Peckham went in the two weeks before she was discovered dead in the waterway.

Records, the Post reported, showed she had a history of run-ins with police dating back to 2014, including multiple charges for trespassing.

Peckman also had multiple drug and theft convictions lodged against her. Investigators are still trying to determine whether Peckman was killed by the gator.

Authorities, with help of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, “humanely killed” the alligator.

Blood could be seen near the alligator.

Terri Williams, who was visiting the area when the incident happened, told Fox News she was shocked to see an alligator.

“I would’ve never dreamt that an alligator would be in this area,” she said.

“Of course, I know there’s a lake across the street, and I know about the lake in Taylor Park, but not in this neighbourhood. No, I would have never thought that.”

Jennifer Dean told WFLA that her children frequently walk by the canal, and told the outlet: “So it’s really scary.”

The sheriff’s office didn’t release additional information about the incident.

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