Investigative

After Boy's Death at Disney, Alligators Are Still in the Water Near Resort


It was the tragedy that stunned America when an alligator snatched 2-year-old Lane Graves at a Disney World resort in June.

Read: Another Boy Photographed Playing in the Same Spot at Lane Graves 30 Minutes Prior to Alligator Attack

Now, three months later, Disney has taken steps to make sure something like Graves’ death can never happen again.

Signs have been posted warning of the presence of gators at all Disney World waterways and public beaches. Fences have also been erected.

But what happened to the alligators that roamed the moats and some of the bodies of water around the park?

To find out, Inside Edition searched with alligator expert Daniel Marchand.

We boarded a pontoon boat at the Seven Seas Lagoon — the same body of water where Lane lost his life.

The Graves family was staying at the Grand Floridian Hotel when the boy was snatched as he waded in ankle-deep water on the hotel's beach.

Inside Edition’s Lisa Guerrero asked Marchand, “The hotel behind us is where the attack took place. What do you think was going on when that little boy was taken?”

“Well the conditions were right in that the sun had gone down, and the small boy was in the water,” he replied. “To an alligator that just looks like a raccoon or a possum. A small prey. So unfortunately the alligator made a mistake and grabbed that child.”

Marchand says no matter what steps Disney World takes, there is always a risk that gators will be in their waterways.

“I'm guaranteeing you that we could find an alligator in this water,” Marchand said. “This is Florida.”

They explored the waterways inside the Magic Kingdom near the famous Splash Mountain ride. Disney guests have spotted gators here before the Lane Graves tragedy and posted the videos online.

Read: Amid Zika Virus Fears, What's The Best Way To Keep Mosquitoes Away?

As night fell, Marchand began using a process called spotlighting where you use a light that reflects off gators eyes.

That’s when he discovered a number of juvenile alligators ranging in length from two to three feet. The reptiles were living in a canal just behind the Grand Floridian Resort, and in a direct link to the Seven Seas Lagoon. 

"If we have several in this canal, there's at least a few in that body of water, that main lake, currently right now at the Grand Floridian Hotel," he said.

Earlier in September, mourners came together on what would have been his third birthday.

His heartbroken mother addressed the crowd: "You'll always be mommy's loving, sweet, baby boy. We miss you, buddy, and we miss those hugs and kisses."

Disney World has not responded to our requests for comment.

Watch: Man Describes 1986 Gator Attack at Disney Resort: 'I Started Kicking at the Alligator's Head' 

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