NewsPolk County


Deputies: Florida man's hand, foot found in alligator's stomach after apparent drowning

Posted at 10:44 AM, Jun 29, 2019

FORT MEADE, Fla. — The Polk County Sheriff's Office is conducting a death investigation after a man's body was found in a canal partially in the mouth of an alligator on Thursday.

Deputies say the body of 45-year-old Michael Ford II was found around 7:30 a.m. in the water on Mosaic property just off Peeples Road in Fort Meade.

They say a nearly 12-foot-long, 449-pound alligator had part of Ford's body in its mouth.

RECOMMENDED: Nearly 500-pound gator hit by semi-truck on Florida interstate

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is assisting the sheriff's office in the investigation. An FWC trapper captured and killed the alligator.

Deputies announced on Saturday that one of Ford's hands and feet were found in the alligator's stomach during a necropsy. An autopsy showed he apparently died by drowning, but deputies say a final cause of death is pending toxicology results. The final autopsy report will also determine if the alligator played a role in Ford's death, according to FWC.

RECOMMENDED: 8-foot alligator takes bite out of deputy's car before escaping

Ford had lacerations and other injuries caused by the gator, according to deputies. Ford's family and friends said they had not heard from him since June 23.

RECOMMENDED: Alligator removed from Florida pond after biting woman

The investigation is ongoing.