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Alligator Kills Boy Swimming in Florida River

June 20, 2003|From Associated Press

TAVARES, Fla. — A 12-year-old boy swimming in the Dead River was dragged under and killed by an alligator minutes after two friends spotted the reptile in the water and screamed at the boy to get out.

The alligator -- estimated at 8 to 11 feet -- surfaced at least once with the boy, Bryan Jeffrey Griffin, in its jaws, but quickly disappeared Wednesday under the dark water, witnesses said.

On Thursday, Lake County sheriff's deputies trapped and killed seven large alligators in their search for the one that killed the boy, whose body was recovered by deputies. The alligators will be examined for human tissue and bite patterns.

A friend of Bryan, Justin VanGorder, 14, said the gators were around all day as the boys swam near a marina about 30 miles northwest of Orlando.

"Every time we saw them, we would get out of the water," but Bryan stayed in, Justin told the Orlando Sentinel. "We screamed at him to get out, but he wouldn't."

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