The family of a 2-year-old boy who died after being pulled into a lake by an alligator on a Disney World property announced Wednesday they won’t sue the company.
“We will solely be focused on the future health of our family and will not be pursuing a lawsuit against Disney,” Matt and Melissa Graves said in a statement released Wednesday morning.
A Disney spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment.
On June 14, the Graveses, who are from suburban Omaha, Nebraska, were relaxing on the white-sand beach that stretches along Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.
They were watching their young son, Lane, wade ankle-deep into the lake known by vacationers as Seven Seas Lagoon when the alligator snatched Lane and dragged him deeper into the water, officials said.
Matt Graves rushed into the water and grabbed desperately for his son, cutting his hand in an unsuccessful attempt to wrestle the boy from the alligator.
Authorities from Disney World, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission deployed more than 50 officers in helicopters and boats to the lake in a desperate search for the missing toddler.
They found his body a day later. Authorities believe Lane drowned. His body was found intact, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings told reporters.
“There are no words to convey the profound sorrow we feel for the family and their unimaginable loss,” George Kalogridis, president of Walt Disney World Resort, said in a statement shortly after the incident. “We are devastated and heartbroken by this tragic accident and are doing what we can to help them during this difficult time.”
The Florida resort did not have signage warning of alligators in the water at the time, though there were signs warning people not to swim in the lagoon.
Three days after the attack, Disney spokeswoman Jacquee Wahler said “we are installing signage and temporary barriers at our resort beach locations and are working on permanent, long-term solutions at our beaches,” adding that the company will “continue to evaluate processes and procedures for our entire property.”
Trappers removed five alligators from the lake, which covers nearly 200 acres and borders the Magic Kingdom theme park. Investigators will compare bite marks to help identify whether any of the captured alligators attacked the boy, said Nick Wiley, executive director of the fish and wildlife group.
(c) 2016, The Washington Post · Cleve R. Wootson Jr.