ENGLEWOOD, Fla. — A medical examiner ruled that an alligator attack is the official cause of death for an elderly woman who fell into a pond at an Englewood country club, the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office announced on Monday.
The victim, identified as Rose Marie Wiegand, 80, was seen falling into a pond along the course at the Boca Royale Golf and Country Club, not far from her home, on Friday around 7:45 p.m.
The sheriff's office said she struggled to stay afloat and, while in the water, was ultimately grabbed by two alligators seen nearby. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
The sheriff's office said now that the medical examiner ruled an alligator attack as the cause of death, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will take over the investigation.
FWC was called to the scene around 8:15 p.m. on Friday. According to the FWC, two alligators were observed at the scene, and a contracted nuisance alligator trapper was dispatched to remove them.
The alligators that were removed were 8’ 10,” and the other was 7’ 7.” FWC said it has no plans to remove any other alligators from the area at this time.
Living with alligators
The FWC provided the following safety tips when it comes to living with alligators. According to the FWC, gators are more visible and active during the spring and summer when the temperatures rise and their metabolism increases.
Alligator mating season also takes place during the warmer months, starting in April and ending May or June.
Tips from FWC:
- Keep a safe distance if you see an alligator. If someone is concerned about an alligator, they should call FWC’s toll-free Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286), and a contracted nuisance alligator trapper will be dispatched to resolve the situation.
- Keep pets on a leash and away from the water’s edge. Pets often resemble alligators’ natural prey.
- Swim only in designated swimming areas during daylight hours and without your pet. Alligators are most active between dusk and dawn.
- Never feed an alligator. Feeding alligators is illegal and dangerous. When fed, alligators can lose their natural wariness people and instead learn to associate people with the availability of food.
For more information, visit the FWC's website.