When Hurricane Ida struck Louisiana, the already dangerous hurricane was made even more unsafe as a local man was attacked by an alligator. The same gator is thought to have since been caught, and a necropsy revealed that it appeared to have human remains in its stomach. The investigation is now waiting for a coroner to confirm the person's identity.
The rare attack happened on August 30 outside the home of Timothy Satterlee Sr. According to the Charlotte Observer, Satterlee’s wife witnessed the attack and attempted to save him, dragging him onto the steps of their home. She then left to look for help – but when she returned, he was gone.
In an effort to bring the family some closure, the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s deputies launched a full investigation vowing to use all the resources and manpower available to find out what happened to Satterlee.
Fearing the alligator may have taken him, a search began, and it became apparent a large animal was residing in a nearby waterway. With the assistance of licensed nuisance hunters, traps were set so that the animal could be searched for remains.
Officials from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries have now announced that they caught an alligator close to Satterlee’s home. The animal was enormous, at 3.7 meters (12 feet) long and weighing 229 kilograms (504 pounds). A necropsy was performed which revealed that the gator had human remains in its stomach when it died.
“This is a horrible tragedy and my sincere condolences and sympathy goes to the Satterlee family,” said Sheriff Smith in a Facebook post. “I know todays findings [do] not bring their loved one back, but hopefully this can bring them some sort of closure. I am very proud of the hard, non-stop work of my deputies and the other agencies who assisted, and I hope their persistence in finding this alligator will help the family with coping with their loss. We will continue to keep them in our prayers.”
While alligators are deadly predators, human deaths involving these animals are very rare. According to a report from Live Science, 10 people were killed by alligators in the southeastern US between 1999 and 2019. This puts the number of fatalities below that of dog attacks, and even lightning.
[H/T: Live Science]