May 28, 2020
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Arm found inside gator confirms Fla. woman’s death

Wilfredo Lee | AP
Wilfredo Lee | AP
A couple looks out from a pontoon boat on one of the lakes at Silver Lakes Rotary Nature Park, Friday, June 8, 2018, in Davie, Fla. Authorities worked Friday to capture an alligator in a Florida pond after a witness' report led police to believe the animal may have dragged a woman into the water.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Divers have recovered the body of a woman killed by an alligator in a Davie park, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

“Search teams located the body of Shizuka Matsuki at approximately 9:49 p.m., June 8, 2018 at the Silver Lakes Rotary Nature Park lake in Davie,” said FWC spokesman Robert Klepper in a statement Saturday morning.

“The FWC will be conducting a thorough investigation into this incident,” he said.

Matsuki, 47, of Plantation, disappeared while walking her two dogs near a lake in the park Friday morning. A passer-by saw her with the dogs initially but a short while later only saw the dogs barking at the water’s edge and called police.

Although no one witnessed the attack, the proof — one of the woman’s arms — was found inside the 12-foot-6-inch-long alligator.

One of the dogs was bitten by the gator, Davie police said. Both dogs were taken to Broward County Animal and Care and Adoption.

Trappers caught the suspect alligator Friday afternoon and found the human arm inside its stomach, officials said. A tattoo confirmed the arm as Matsuki’s. With the reptile out of the water, divers were able to go into the lake to look for the body.

The Matsuki family was notified late Friday night that her body had been found, Klepper said.

“We would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Ms. Matsuki,” he said.

Some neighbors have complained about the alligators at the park in the 5600 block of Southwest 52nd Street.

Davie resident Trina Gonzalez recalled visiting the park a year ago and seeing a large gator swim up to the bank after her son threw bread in the water to feed the fish.

“That gator was there in a heartbeat,” she said. “We never went back again.”

Park lore, according to Gonzalez, was that the large gator was treated by other visitors as a mascot of sorts. They sabotaged traps set to catch it, she said.

Three trappers had been hired in the past 18 to 24 months to try to capture the gator, Davie’s assistant parks director said. He hadn’t heard of any sabotaged traps or interference in capturing the alligator.

The gator eluded the traps and there hadn’t been a sighting in the last month, said Jeff Polhman, the assistant director.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency LLC.

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