List of fatal alligator attacks in the United States

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is a list of fatal alligator attacks in the United States in reverse chronological order by decade. All occurred in the South, where alligators are endemic to wetlands and tidal marshes. The state of Florida, where most attacks and deaths occur, began keeping records of alligator attacks in 1948.[1]


Name, age, sex Date Location and comments
Sabrina Peckham, 41, female September 23, 2023 Peckham’s body was found in an irrigation canal in Largo, Florida, when a witness spotted a 14-foot-long alligator with a human torso clenched in its jaws. Peckham was homeless, and only two months prior had been arrested for trespassing on wetland property less than a mile from where her body was found.[2]
Holly Jenkins, 69, female July 4, 2023 The victim was attacked and killed by an alligator as she was walking her dogs in her neighborhood of Spanish Wells in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. First reponders were not immediately able to reach the victim because the alligator had crawled out of the water and was "guarding" her body.[3][4]
Gloria Serge, 85, female February 20, 2023 The victim was walking her dog next to a pond at the Spanish Lakes Fairways retirement community in Fort Pierce, Florida. The alligator first attacked the dog and when the woman tried to save the dog, she too was attacked. The dog survived.[5][6]
Nancy Becker, 88, female August 15, 2022 The victim was in her backyard in a gated Sun City community in Bluffton, South Carolina, and was attacked by a nearly 10-foot-long alligator. The victim's body was found being guarded by the alligator and was later recovered.[7]
Rose Marie Wiegand, 80, female[8] July 15, 2022 The victim fell into a pond along a golf course in Englewood, Florida, and was attacked by two alligators.[9]
Michael Burstein, 75, male June 24, 2022 The victim was dragged into a pond in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The victim's body was recovered later and a subsequent post-mortem established that Mr Burstein drowned.[10]
Sean McGuinness, 47, male May 31, 2022 The victim was attacked while trying to retrieve frisbee golf discs in the lake at John S. Taylor Park in Largo, Florida. Police believed McGuinness had entered the lake during nighttime hours, as his body did not appear to have been in the lake for a long period when a person walking their dog discovered it along the shoreline with its arm torn off around 8:00 a.m.[11]
Timothy Satterlee, 71, male August 30, 2021 The victim was attacked in floodwaters of Hurricane Ida near the city of Slidell, Louisiana, which is just across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans. The attack was witnessed by the victim's wife, who said the alligator bit his arm off.[12][13] A 12-foot-long alligator believed to have attacked Satterlee was captured and killed on September 13, 2021. Human remains were found in its stomach.[14] Although Louisiana, like Florida, has approximately 1.5 million alligators, this was Louisiana's only known fatal alligator attack.[15]
Cynthia Covert, 58, female May 1, 2020 The victim was pulled under and drowned by an alligator in a pond behind a home near Salt Cedar Lane, Kiawah Island, South Carolina.[16][17]


Name, age, sex Date Location and comments
Cassandra Cline, 45, female August 20, 2018 Dragged to her death while walking her dog near a golf course in the gated community of Sea Pines in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Witnesses said Cline was attempting to protect her dog when the alligator pulled her into a lagoon. The dog was unharmed.[18]
Shizuka Matsuki, 47, female June 8, 2018 Dragged to her death and dismembered while walking dogs at the Silver Lake Rotary Nature Park in Davie, Florida.[19]
Bonnie Walker, 90, female July 29, 2016 Walker's body was found in a retention pond near Brookdale Senior Living Center in Charleston, South Carolina. According to coroners, she died from "multiple sharp and blunt force injuries" that are consistent with those inflicted by an alligator.[20]
Lane Graves, 2, male June 14, 2016 An alligator, 4 to 7 feet long, dragged the victim under water in the Seven Seas Lagoon about 9:00 p.m. on June 14, 2016, at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa just outside of Orlando, Florida. His parents tried to rescue him; the father was attacked by a second alligator. The victim's body was found nearby the next day, intact and apparently drowned.[21][22][23][24]
Richard Zachary Taylor, 72, male on or about June 5, 2016 Police recovered Taylor's body after a report of an alligator with a body in its mouth near Lake Hunter in Lakeland, Florida. A trapper responded a short time later and eventually caught the alligator. Detectives do not know whether Taylor drowned or was killed by the reptile. His body was decomposed, indicating he had been in the water a couple of days or longer. Remains found inside the alligator during a necropsy were a match to Taylor.[25]
Matthew Riggins, 22, male on or about November 13, 2015 A police dive team found the victim's body in a pond in Micco, Florida Barefoot Bay community in Brevard County ten days after he was reported missing. Riggins, who had been burglarizing homes in the area, was attacked and partially eaten by an 11-foot (3.4 meters) alligator.[26][27]
James Okkerse, 62, male October 19, 2015 Okkerse was killed while swimming/snorkeling by a 12-foot (3.7 meters) alligator at Blue Spring State Park near Orange City, Florida. The final cause of death was determined by the Volusia County medical examiner's office in consultation with a forensic odontologist from a neighboring county who specializes in animal bites.[28][29][30]
Tommie Woodward, 28, male July 4, 2015 After an 11-foot alligator appeared at Burkarts Marina in Orange, Texas, bystanders were told to stay out of the water. Tommie Woodward mocked the alligator and jumped into the water in close proximity to the alligator and was immediately pulled underwater; his body was later found with severe trauma to the chest. This was the first recorded fatal alligator attack in Texas since 1836.[31]


Name, age, sex Date Location and comments
Justo Padron, 36, male November 13, 2007 A man fleeing police by jumping into a retention pond adjacent to the Miccosukee Resort and Convention Center near Miami was killed by a 9-foot 3-inch (2.8 m) alligator.[32][33][34]
Gwen Williams, 83, female October 5, 2007 A Canadian woman who had been house sitting for her daughter at The Landings on Skidaway Island, east of Savannah, Georgia, was spotted floating in a lagoon 500 feet (200 m) behind her daughter's house. Autopsy results and a necropsy of the animal established that she had been attacked and killed by an 8-foot (2.5 m) alligator.[35][36][37]
Annemarie Campbell, 23, female May 14, 2006 Her body was pulled out of an alligator's mouth by friends and relatives in a springhead at Juniper Wayside Park in the Ocala National Forest near Lake George in Marion County, Florida. She had been attacked while snorkeling. Autopsy results confirmed that Campbell died from drowning and multiple blunt-force injuries including lacerations on her head, neck and upper torso, and multiple rib fractures. Officials later captured and killed an 12-foot 4-inch (3.5 m), 407 pound alligator that they were able to positively identify as the one that attacked Campbell due to scratches around its eyes that she inflicted while attempting to defend herself.[38][39][40][41]
Judy W. Cooper, 43, female May 14, 2006 Her body was found in a canal near Oldsmar in Pinellas County, Florida, 20 miles (30 km) north of St. Petersburg. She had been in the water for about three days. Preliminary autopsy results indicated a fatal alligator attack. Her arm and hand were later recovered from an 8.5-foot (2.6 m) alligator.[38][40][41]
Yovy Suarez Jiménez, 28, female May 10, 2006 Her dismembered body was found floating in a canal between Markham County Park and State Road 84 in Sunrise, Florida. She was killed while jogging the previous evening by a 9' 6" (3 m) alligator; her arms were found in the animal's digestive tract during necropsy. and the Broward County medical examiner concluded that she was attacked on land and dragged into the canal.[38][40][41][42]
Kevin Albert Murray, 41, male July 15, 2005 He was killed while swimming in the Apollo waterway in Port Charlotte, Florida by a 12' 2" (3.7 m) alligator.[42][43][44]
Don Owen, 56, male March 15, 2005 Fishermen discovered Owen's body about 12 miles (19 km) from his Lakeland, Florida home. He had been missing since March 9. Trappers later caught an 8' 9" (2.7 m) alligator and recovered some of Owen's body parts.[42]
Michelle Reeves, 20, female September 26, 2004 She was killed by a 7' 11" (2.4 m) alligator while swimming in a retention pond at Lee Memorial Health Park in Lee County, Florida.[42][44]
Janie Melsek, 54, female June 21, 2004 She was attacked by a 12' 3" (3.7 m) alligator while working on landscaping along Poinciana Circle Sanibel, Florida. She later died in surgery from an infection acquired from being in the water with open wounds.[42][44][45]
Brian Griffin, 12, male June 18, 2003 He was killed by a 10' 4" (3.1 m) alligator while swimming in the Dead River near a boat ramp; the river connects Lakes Harris and Eustis in Lake County, Florida.[42][44][46]
Robert Steele, 81, male September 11, 2001 He was attacked by an alligator while walking his dog on a trail between two wetland areas near the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel, Florida. Steele bled to death after his leg was bitten off below the knee.[42][44]
Alexandria Murphy, 2, female June 23, 2001 She wandered away from her fenced back yard and was killed 700 feet from her home on Lake Cannon in Winter Haven, Florida.[42][44]
Samuel Wetmore, 70, male May 4, 2001 He was killed in a pond near his residence in Venice, Sarasota County, Florida by an 8' 4" (2.5 m) alligator. Wetmore suffered from dementia and had wandered from his home.[42][44]


Name, age, sex Date Location and comments
Adam Binford, 3, male March 21, 1997 He was killed by an 11-foot (3.4 m) alligator after straying outside a roped-off area in Lake Ashby, Volusia County, Florida. Wildlife officials shot the alligator, which was still holding the lifeless body of the boy 20 hours later.[42][44]
Grace Eberhart, 70, female October 3, 1993 She was killed by one or more alligators at Lake Serenity, Sumter County, Florida. She died of a broken neck caused by an alligator bite to the throat and head.[42][44]
Bradley Weidenhamer, 10, male June 19, 1993 He was killed while wading in the Loxahatchee River at Jonathan Dickinson State Park in Martin County, Florida.[42][44]


Name, age, sex Date Location and comments
Erin Glover, 4, female June 4, 1988 She was killed while walking along the shore of Hidden Lake, Charlotte County, Florida.[42][44]
George Cummings III, 29, male July 13, 1987 He was killed while snorkeling in the Wakulla Springs State Park, Wakulla County, Florida by an 11-foot (3.4 m) alligator.[42][44]
Paul Mirabito, 27, male May 4, 1985 He was killed while diving and harassing small alligators in a canal near West Palm Beach, Florida.[47]
Robert Crespo, 11, male August 6, 1984 He was killed by a 12' 4" (3.8 m) alligator while swimming in a canal in St. Lucie County, Florida.[42][44]


Name, age, sex Date Location and comments
Phillip Rastrelli, 14, male September 10, 1978 He was killed while swimming across the Hidden River Canal off Bessie Creek in Martin County, Florida.[42][44]
George Leonard, 52, male September 28, 1977 He was killed while swimming in the Peace River Canal, Charlotte County, Florida.[42][44]
Sharon Holmes, 16, female August 16, 1973 She was killed while swimming at the Oscar Scherer State Park, Sarasota County, Florida, by an 11' 3" (3.4 m) alligator.[42][44]


Name, age, sex Date Location and comments
Allen Rice, 9, male June 1957 He had been missing several days from his Eau Gallie, Florida, home, when his body was discovered by the Civil Air Patrol on the banks of Horse Creek, and parts of his body were found inside an alligator destroyed by authorities.[48][49][50]


Name, age, sex Date Location and comments
Gray B. King, male April or June 1836 A settler from Nashville traveling with his family and slaves, he was seized and pulled under by an alligator after jumping into the river to push free a ferry which had run aground. Sources describe the location as Double Bay (just below Anahuac), Buffalo Bayou, or the Trinity River, Texas.[51][52][53]
Jacques du Bois, male August 10, 1734 The blacksmith at Fort St. Jean Baptiste, near what is now Natchitoches, Louisiana, was found dead on the banks of the Cane River, and a coroner's inquest concluded he was killed by an alligator.[54]
Dumesnil, male 1685 A servant of René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, he was killed while swimming across the Colorado River (Texas).[53]

See also[edit]



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