Gator found with body in its mouth in Lakeland

Posted at 2:46 PM, Jun 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-08 13:33:25-04
A body was found Tuesday in the mouth of a gator in Lakeland, police said.
The body, which belonged to a male, has not been identified, according to the Lakeland Police Department.
“It appears – prematurely, a little early – that maybe this body was in the lake more than a day from looking at the body,” said Sgt. Gary Gross, Lakeland police spokesman, in a video from the scene. “It doesn’t appear to have just occurred.”
The gator and body were found in Lake Hunter near 1 Lake Hunter Drive. Police arrived and confirmed the gator had a body.
"Hurry up. I have a dead body over here in the lake," the 911 caller said. "Looks like an alligator is trying to pull him down under."
"Are you sure it's dead?" the operator says.
"Oh, it's dead for sure," the caller says.
Listen to the full 911 call in the player above
The animal let the body go and swam away, police said.
The body has been since removed from the water. 
FWC officials killed a 9-foot gator Tuesday night with plans to search its stomach for human remains. Lakeland Police confirmed Wednesday morning that the gator had human remains in its stomach.
Police haven't responded to an incident involving a gator on Lake Hunter for many years, Gross said, so Tuesday's discovery surprised law enforcement.
"This is a good lake for people to come out and walk," Gross said.
Leading up to Tuesday, police responded to multiple calls at the lake that could be related to the death.
Someone called Saturday morning to report a shirt and pants floating near the Lake Hunter Boat Ramp at 650 Sikes Blvd. The person reported finding a backpack nearby, and said an aggressive alligator had been found near the boat ramp earlier in the week. Police officers and firefighters did not find anything in the water.
Sunday evening someone reported seeing something large floating in the lake and an alligator circling it, police said. Officers checked the area of the lake and didn't find anything.