Human remains found in alligator suspected of killing man after Hurricane Ida

Timothy Satterlee’s wife saw him being attacked by an alligator in Hurricane Ida floodwaters (Picture: Facebook/Reuters/St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office)

A huge alligator believed to have killed an elderly man during Hurricane Ida has been found with human remains in its stomach, an American Sheriff’s office believes.

The grisly discovery was made after the 12-foot animal was captured, killed and cut open.

It brings to an end a two-week search for Timothy Satterlee Sr, 71, who had last been seen on August 30, checking the damage outside his home in Slidell, about 35 miles northeast of New Orleans.

Mr Satterlee’s wife saw a large alligator attack her husband after he had gone outside their raised home to check on the contents of their ground-level shed, officials explained.

The alligator had him in a ‘death roll’ and had ripped off one of his arms, Captain Lance Vitter said, adding that Mrs Satterlee, 68, said that when she intervened, the alligator disappeared into the water.

He had told her to get into their small boat and seek help, while he was bleeding badly and starting to black out.

Mr Vitter, a spokesman for the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, added that it would have been difficult for Mrs Satterlee to get her husband into the boat without his help and without it tipping over and she left him on their stairs.

Mr Satterlee (centre) was seen as a pillar of his community (Picture: Facebook)
The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office search for an alligator believed to have killed a man after Hurricane Ida (Picture: Reuters)

About one mile away, she found help but returned to find her husband was no longer on the stairs.

Mr Vitter explained: ‘She just never thought in her wildest nightmares that she would get back and he’d be gone.’

The attack occurred the day after Ida, one of the most powerful hurricanes ever to strike the US Gulf Coast, slammed into Louisiana, causing devastating flooding in some areas outside a new levee and floodgate system protecting New Orleans.

Mr Satterlee was said to be a pillar of his community in Slidell, volunteering at the local school and cooking for storm victims.

On Monday, the alligator – ‘weighing a startling 504 pounds’ – was caught in a trap set in floodwaters by two Louisiana Department of Wildlife licensed nuisance hunters, the Sheriff’s Office said.

The alligator was described as ‘startlingly’ large (Picture: St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office)
An airboat, truck and drone were among the devices used to locate the alligator (Picture: Reuters)

The office explained in a statement: ‘Once the alligator was searched, it was discovered to have what appears to be human remains inside its stomach.

‘Investigators will work with the St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office to verify those remains belong to Timothy Satterlee.’

Wildlife experts had been searching the area on Saturday when an official using a drone spotted a ‘rather large’ alligator not far from Mr Satterlee’s home, Captain Vitter, a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office, said.

After setting traps which eventually proved successful, Mr Vitter said workers euthanised and cut open the alligator ‘and that’s when they discovered the body parts.

‘It was the upper parts of a human body’, he added.


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The Satterlee home is close to a swamp area where tourists are promised alligators and other wildlife, Mr Vitter said.

He noted that alligators do not usually attack humans unless the food they have stashed has been displaced, as can occur during major storms.

Mr Vitter said he hoped that finding the alligator would bring some closure for Mr Satterlee’s wife.

‘Now that we have located the alligator at least she can get a death certificate,’ he said.

The alligator was unusually large for the region, where those that are caught typically measure 7-1/2 to 8 feet in length and rarely exceed 300 pounds.

According to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute, male alligators can weigh as much as 1,000 lbs (454 kg).

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