LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The 2-year-old boy who witnesses said was pulled by an alligator into a lagoon near a Walt Disney World hotel has been found dead, a source with knowledge of the investigation told CNN on Wednesday.
The boy’s family was at movie night outdoors at the Grand Floridian resort when around 9 p.m. the boy waded into about a foot of water in a lagoon, authorities have said. Witnesses, including the boy’s horrified parents, tried to save him.
His father jumped in and tried to pry the gator’s mouth open. His mother jumped in, too.
The child was dragged underwater in the Seven Seas Lagoon, witnesses told authorities. The lagoon is connected to a series of canals that feed into large bodies of water, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Executive Director Nick Wiley.
The Reedy Creek emergency services call center first received a report about the attack at 9:16 p.m.
A search began for the boy immediately, with boats from Disney searching along with law enforcement.
Disney executives and Gov. Rick Scott have expressed their willingness to help in any way, the sheriff explained, and Disney employees are trying — under unimaginable circumstances — to keep the boy’s family as comfortable as possible.
Demings said he expects officials will make family members’ names public Wednesday evening.
By midmorning Wednesday, Disney had closed all beaches in its resort area “out of an abundance of caution” following the attack, a Disney representative said.
Wiley said the child was on the edge of the lagoon when the alligator attacked, according to the boy’s family. He cautioned that the investigation is still in an early stage and officials need to interview at least two other families who may have witnessed the attack.
Demings specifically said that the child was “wading … along the lake’s edge at the time that the alligator attacked.”