Florida authorities have identified a badly decomposed body that was dragged into a Florida lake last Thursday, Bay News 9 reports.
St. Petersburg police said they determined last Friday that the body belonged to 16-year-old Jarvis Deliford, who had recently been released from a juvenile detention center for charges related to a burglary.
Alligators were seen pulling Deliford’s body into the lake early Thursday morning, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
St. Petersburg resident Otis Crawford and his partner, Patricia Kays, told the paper that they found the body between bushes along Lake Maggiore’s southeastern bank. The two had been eating breakfast in the area when they noticed something floating in the water that was surrounded by approximately 10 alligators.
“It was hard to tell if it was a person or an animal,” Crawford said. “I got out of the car to make sure I was seeing what I was seeing.”
What they saw next proved to be too much for Crawford’s partner.
“I saw an alligator take a chunk out of (the body), throw it up in the air and catch it and eat it,” Kay said. “I had to go back to the car after that. I couldn’t watch it anymore.”
The couple purportedly notified a city worker, who called the police. The department then reached out to the St. Petersburg Fire Rescue, which later arrived at the scene to retrieve the body but initially came up short in its search for other pieces of evidence.
On Saturday, authorities told Bay News 9 that they had received an alert on June 29, when Deliford returned home from the detention center and removed his ankle monitor. Now, police are trying to piece together what happened afterwards.
“We are able to say there have no been any signs of homicidal violence but we still have to wait for the official report,” Lt. Matthew Furse said.
Deliford’s sister LaPorsha Smalls told the station, however, that she believes foul play was involved.
“Somebody killed my brother. My brother, Jarvis, is not an ordinary child. Jarvis don’t go to no beaches, he don’t even play around water because he don’t know how to swim,” she said.
St. Petersburg police is now asking anyone who has any information about Deliford’s whereabouts after he left the juvenile detention center to contact them.