Authorities are searching for a Florida woman who according to a witness was dragged by an alligator into the pond at Silver Lakes Rotary Park, as she was walking her dogs. According to Davie Police Maj. Dale Engle said that divers were searching and the woman’s dogs did not want to leave the pond. It seems one of the dogs was also bitten by the gator.
A nearly 13-foot-long alligator suspected of dragging the woman into the lake in Davie was trapped and killed Friday afternoon. Evidence recovered from the reptile indicates it bit the victim, according to the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission. The FWC believes the woman is deceased but will continue recovery efforts.
While police would not give the identification of the victim, friends, and family of the woman who were at the park identified her as Shizuka Matsuki of Plantation. A witness told police her dogs were barking near the water in the 5600 block of Southwest 52nd Street but she had vanished.
Trina Gonzalez, who lives in Davie, said she visited the park last year and a large gator swam up to the bank of the lake where she and her son had been fishing. “My son threw the bread in the water to feed the little fish there and as we walked away, that gator was there in a heartbeat,” Gonzalez said. “We never went back again.”
According to the wildlife commission, the likelihood of a Florida resident being seriously injured during an unprovoked alligator incident in Florida is roughly only one in 3.2 million. The most recent death occurred in 2016 when a 2-year-old boy playing near the water’s edge at a Walt Disney World resort was killed. From 1948 to 2017, the commission has documented 401 people bitten by alligators, including 24 fatalities.
Local 10 News has reported that an autopsy on the alligator shows a woman’s hand inside the gator. The body part is believed to be that of Shizuka Matsuki, 47, of Plantation.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Rob Klepper said evidence from the necropsy indicates that the woman was bitten by the 12-foot, 6-inch gator.
“The FWC believes that the victim is deceased and we will continue recovery efforts on the lake with local authorities,” Klepper said.