A Lakeland, Florida, alligator was spotted with a human body in its mouth in Lake Hunter this week, though it's not yet clear whether the person was killed by the creature.
After receiving a 911 call, police recovered the body of the unidentified man, which they said appeared to have been in the water for more than a day, The Huffington Post reported
. No missing persons reports had been filed in the area, and authorities were unsure if the corpse was related to earlier reports of clothing found in the lake or a sighting of an alligator circling something large.
A 9-foot alligator was later captured Tuesday night, and police examined it and announced Wednesday that human remains matching the body were found in its stomach, The Associated Press reported
. Police don't know whether the man drowned or was killed by the gator.
Lakeland Police Department spokesman Sgt. Gary B. Gross posted updates about the incident on Twitter.
The decomposing body appeared to be missing an arm and a leg, NBC News reported
The alligator still had the body in its jaws when police arrived, but let go and swam away, The Lakeland Ledger reported
. Police also collected a backpack left at a boat dock.
"I've never seen anything like it," Krista Day, who works nearby at Florida Presbyterian Homes, told the newspaper. "It's scary and heart-dropping. When I first saw it, I didn't believe it."
But the incident isn't the first. About a week ago, fishermen spotted two alligators eating a decomposing body in the Everglades in Broward County, the Miami Herald reported
. That body also hasn't been identified.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials lured the alligators away in both instances.
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