The body of a woman killed after being attacked by two alligators in a pond at Boca Royale Golf and Country Club in Sarasota County has been identified.
At 8:15 p.m. on Friday, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission received a call regarding a body found in a small pond in Sarasota County.
The victim was later identified as Rose Marie Wiegand, 80, of Englewood. She was near her home when she fell into the water.
Two alligators were near the woman when they grabbed her while she was still in the water and Wiegand was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office said the medical examiner has ruled the cause of death a result of the alligator attack.
Meredith Budd, regional policy director for the Florida Wildlife Federation, said, “It is devastating to hear that something like this happened.”
Budd said there are always risks associated with living near and around wildlife, but fatal attacks are rare.
“It’s relatively rare because a lot of people are able to take precautions, and accidents certainly do happen,” Budd said.
A neighbor who did not want to be identified shared her reaction to the fatal attack Friday night.
The neighbor said, “I have no idea who it is. I pray that it’s not one of my close friends, but again, I pray for their family and I hope that they’re okay and it’s absolutely tragic.”
Budd said, whether you’ve been living in Florida, or are just visiting, “If there’s a body of water, there’s most likely an alligator that lives or travels within that body of water.”
That’s why it’s crucial to be aware of your surroundings. Because alligators move fast, and things can change in an instant.
“And especially never feed an alligator. Definitely don’t want to ever put yourself in a position where we’re purposefully feeding wildlife, especially alligators, predators that can pose a safety risk to us,” Budd said.
Budd said you especially don’t want to swim in an area at dawn and dusk. That is when most animals, including alligators, are most active.
FWC said a contracted nuisance alligator trapper was dispatched to the scene and removed two alligators from the area. One was 8’ 10” and the other was 7’ 7”.
FWC has taken over as the investigating agency.