WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Alligators in Florida have been caught feeding on a badly decomposed body of a male teen on July 4 in a St. Petersburg-area lake.
- Authorities identified the victim as 16-year-old Jarvis Deliford, who had just been released from a juvenile detention center for burglary charges.
- Since Deliford was already dead when the alligators found him, his sister LaPorsha Smalls suspects foul play was involved.
Authorities in Florida have identified the severely decomposed body of a teenager that was dragged by alligators into a lake on Thursday, according to Bay News 9.
On Friday, St. Petersburg police said the body belonged to Jarvis Deliford, a 16-year-old who had just been released from a juvenile detention center for burglary charges.
Local resident Otis Crawford and his partner, Patricia Kays, told the Tampa Bay Times that they saw the body between bushes along Lake Maggiore’s southeastern bank. While eating breakfast in the area, the couple noticed approximately 10 alligators dragging something into the lake.
“It was hard to tell if it was a person or an animal. I got out of the car to make sure I was seeing what I was seeing,” Crawford said.
“I saw an alligator take a chunk out of (the body), throw it up in the air and catch it and eat it,” Kays told the newspaper. “I had to go back to the car after that. I couldn’t watch it anymore.”
They notified a city worker, who called the police department. The St. Petersburg Fire Rescue later arrived at the scene to retrieve the body but reportedly came up short in its search for other pieces of evidence.
The police told Bay News 9 on Saturday that they had received an alert on June 29 after Deliford removed his ankle monitor upon returning home from the detention center. The police are now doing an investigation.
“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 suspects foul play was involved.
“Somebody killed my brother,” Smalls said. “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.”
St. Petersburg police are now asking for any information about Deliford’s whereabouts after he left the juvenile detention center.