It was a family vacation that tragically ended with the death of a young boy. Two-year-old Lane Graves was visiting Orlando from Elkhorn, Nebraska. He and his family were staying at a luxurious Disney property, the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. They were enjoying a movie night outdoors when suddenly, tragedy struck.
Matt and Melissa Graves were spending the night outside the resort with Lane and his four-year-old sister. The boy was said to have been wading in the shallow part of the water. Out of nowhere, an alligator attacked the boy and dragged him. Matt tried all he could to free his son from the alligator, but his efforts were futile.
Melissa also jumped into the water to help rescue their son, but eventually, the alligator got away and dragged the boy further into deeper water. That was the last time Matt and Melissa would see their son alive.
Authorities spent the night looking for Lane and the alligator. The two-year-old boy was eventually found the next day, a few yards away from where the gator attack had taken place. His body remained intact, and it seemed that drowning was the boy’s cause of death. An autopsy has been planned.
According to Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings, Lane’s family is somewhat relieved that the body of their son has now been found. “Of course the family was distraught, but also I believe somewhat relieved that his body was found intact.”
Meanwhile, Associated Press reports that a Graves’ family friend has released a statement on behalf of the couple, saying they are grateful to everyone for their “thoughts and hope-filled prayers.”
Lane and his family had arrived in the resort from Nebraska on Sunday, according to a report from Heavy. Matt Graves had been working as Chief Data Officer for Infogroup. In his LinkedIn profile, it says that one of the causes he greatly cares about is children. At the same time, Matt is a board member of the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce.
Following the tragedy, the organization’s president and CEO David Brown issued a statement saying, “The loss of a child is a special kind of tragedy, particularly hard to comprehend. Our thoughts and our prayers are with the Graves family during this time of unthinkable sadness. Matt has served on our Chamber Board since 2013. We stand ready to assist him, his wife and family as they grieve the loss of Lane.”
Back home , the family belongs to the tight knit St. Patrick’s community. Their daughter, 4-year-old Ella, attends the school at the St. Patrick’s parish. Upon learning of the tragedy, St. Patrick’s Catholic Church said, “Please honor their privacy at this time and keep them in your prayers.”
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