The grieving parents of a toddler who was snatched and killed by an alligator in Orlando say they don't plan to sue Disney.
Lane Graves was killed in a manmade lagoon on the grounds of a Walt Disney World resort in Orlando last month. Following the boy's death, there was a spattering of speculation the couple might sue amid reports that the beach where the tragedy struck had no signs explicitly warning about gators.
The speculation ended Wednesday when Matt and Melissa Graves made clear that they intend to focus on their personal healing rather than litigation.
In a heartbreaking statement to media, 2-year-old Lane's parents wrote:
“Melissa and I are broken. We will forever struggle to comprehend why this happened to our sweet baby, Lane. As each day passes, the pain gets worse, but we truly appreciate the outpouring of sympathy and warm sentiments we have received from around the world.
"We know that we can never have Lane back, and therefore, we intend to keep his spirit alive through the Lane Thomas Foundation. It is our hope that through the foundation we will be able to share with others the unimaginable love Lane etched in our hearts. In addition to the foundation, we will solely be focused on the future health of our family and will not be pursuing a lawsuit against Disney. For now, we continue to ask for privacy as we focus on our family.”
The Graves have largely shied away from the media since their family vacation to the Happiest Place on Earth became a headline-making tragedy.
Lane Graves’ body was found intact at the bottom of the 7 Seas Lagoon just 15 yards from where he was snatched June 14 while playing in ankle deep water at the Grand Floridian resort.
While there were always signs warning visitors against swimming in 7 Seas and similar lagoons, Disney put up additional fencing as well as signs explicitly warning against alligators in the days following Lane's death.
A fire department report has since revealed that there were two alligators involved in the death of the Nebraska boy. He died despite the valiant attempts of his "tough as nails" father to fight them off.
While the family has remained mostly silent, a family friend spoke out after the tragedy, saying Lane's father did "everything he could" to save him.
Jon Kneifl says he's not surprised that Lane Graves’ father, Matt, took on the alligator.
“Matt was a state champion wrestler and is tough as nails,” he told Inside Edition last month. “I know that he would do anything to try to help his son. He probably fought as hard as he could. I know Matt and he gave it everything he could.”
Matt Graves, a senior executive with a software company in Nebraska, was quick to leap into action, wrestling with the gator. But he could not save his son.
“They are great people,” Kneifl said. “They are not the type of people that deserve this... It is a devastating thing for them to go through.”