LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The body of a 2-year-old boy who was dragged into a lake by an alligator at a Walt Disney World resort has been recovered.
Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said the body of Lane Graves, 2, was found Wednesday afternoon.
The incident happened about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday in a sandy waterfront area outside the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa near the Seven Seas Lagoon on hotel property near Magic Kingdom, prompting Disney to close all of its resort beaches "out of an abundance of caution."
Demings said the boy's body was discovered by dive teams about 1:45 p.m., and the remains were recovered about 3:30 p.m.
"Of course the family was distraught, but also I believe somewhat relieved that his body was found intact," Demings said.
The Orange County Sheriff's Office released a photo of Lane on Twitter on Wednesday night, along with a message.
"Deepest condolences to the Graves family," the tweet said. "Thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time."
The boy's parents were identified as Matt and Melissa Graves of Elkhorn, Nebraska, a suburban area of Omaha. A family friend released a statement on behalf of the couple thanking well-wishers for their "thoughts and hope-filled prayers."
CEO Michael Iaccarino of Infogroup, a marketing company where Matt Graves is chief data officer, said Grave's family "is the light of his life."
In a statement from Disney World Resort President George A. Kalogridis, the company said it was "doing what we can" to help the family.
Witnesses said the family was on the beach and the boy's 4-year-old sister was in a playpen about 20 or 30 yards from the water on the sand, Demings said.
Matt Graves wrestled the alligator in an effort to save his son, Demings said.
Nick Wiley with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said five alligators were taken from the water during the search.
More than a million alligators live throughout Florida, though the species remains listed as an endangered species because it closely resembles the endangered American crocodile.
Though Florida has grown to the third-most populous state, fatal alligator attacks remain rare. There have been 23 fatalities caused by wild alligators in Florida since 1973, according to data compiled by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Those fatalities were among 383 unprovoked bites not caused by someone handling or intentionally harassing an alligator.
Eight children, ages 2 to 16, are among the fatalities. Five died while swimming in lakes, rivers and canals. The youngest victims were killed near lakes, including a 2-year-old girl who wandered 700 feet from her fenced backyard and a 3-year-old boy who left a roped-off swimming area in a county park to pick lily pads.
Orange County Sheriff's Office spokesman Jeff Williamson said the boy was at the edge of the lake, probably about a foot or two into the water, when the alligator attacked.
A "no swimming" sign was posted at the lake where the boy was snatched.