Search teams have located the body of a woman who vanished Friday in South Florida. The chief suspect in her disappearance was a large alligator.
The Law Enforcement Division of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said Saturday that the body of Shizuka Matsuki was located Friday evening around 10 p.m. at the Silver Lakes Rotary Nature Park lake in Davie, Florida.
It said the Commission will be conducting a thorough investigation into the incident, but didn’t provided additional details.
Matsuki, 47, disappeared while walking her dogs. She was bitten and likely killed by an alligator that was later captured, wildlife officials said Friday.
A necropsy confirmed the gator bit Matsuki, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials said in a statement. Commission spokesman Rob Klepper said they were able to positively identify the woman from evidence collected from the necropsy of the alligator, but he wouldn’t specifically say what that evidence was. Officials reportedly found an arm inside the reptile.
A witness told authorities he saw the woman walking two dogs and then noticed the dogs alone, barking near the water. One of the dogs had a fresh injury, a gash on its side, said Davie Police Detective Viviana Gallinal. The witness called police when he couldn’t find the woman, Gallinal said.
Alligators are synonymous with Florida with more than one million in the state. They can literally show up anywhere, and one even watched a 6-year-old boy play on a Slip ‘N Slide, Begnaud reported. However, fatal attacks on humans remain rare. According to the wildlife commission, the likelihood of a Florida resident being seriously injured during an unprovoked alligator incident in Florida is roughly only 1 in 3.2 million.
From 1948 to 2017, the commission has documented 401 people bitten by alligators, including 24 fatalities. Aside from this attack, the most recent death occurred in 2016, when a 2-year-old boy playing near the water’s edge at a Walt Disney World resort was killed.
The park where Matsuki disappeared Friday is near the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, a major Miami-area tourist and entertainment attraction. Authorities closed the park Friday, but passersby said they were not surprised to hear about an alligator lurking in the water.
“Any body of water in Florida, you’ve got to know at some point or another there’s an alligator,” said Heather Porrata, who lives nearby.