• Body found in Florida pond; Residents say 'many alligators' in area


    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - A body was found Thursday as crews searched a Florida retention pond after someone called 911 to report a teenager's possible drowning on Wednesday.

    Deputies from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit told Channel 2's Cox Media Group sister station WFTV that they discovered the body at about 7:30 a.m.

    Homicide detectives and CSI were called to the scene. 

    Authorities said the body is that of a woman.

    On Wednesday, Eric Wolfe told dispatchers that he saw what appeared to be a teenage boy flailing his arms in the water while screaming, "It bit me. It bit me."

    "The only thing I could hear was, 'Something bit me,' and him screaming," Wolfe told WFTV. "By the time I got out with the binoculars, he was kind of just fighting to stay above and he just sunk under."

    Wolfe said the teenager appeared to be struggling to stay afloat in the water before going fully under. 

    He said the victim was about 20 yards from the shoreline and never resurfaced. 

    “There are many alligators in there. There are probably four alligators that I’ve seen. There's a big bull gator, probably about seven to nine feet,” Wolfe told WFTV

    The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said it received a report of a missing 15-year-old boy near Salem Drive and Marietta Street. 

    Officials later said they don't know the exact age of the possible missing person.

    Orange County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Jeff Williamson said deputies knocked on doors in the neighborhood, but there didn't appear to be anyone missing.

    Despite “No Trespassing” signs around the fenced pond, residents said people still fish and swim there, even though it’s known for alligators. 

    “I used to fish in there. I stopped doing that about a year ago, once that gator got way too big and aggressive,” resident Luis Cadiz told WFTV.

    Terri Branson, who lives near the pond, told WFTV that she hopes everyone is safe.

    "We see gators here every single day. I mean, they're different sizes, but one looks fairly large," he said. "I know that's why they're trying to keep people out of the lake, because it is full of gators."

    Investigators spent hours searching the pond's shoreline and its waters, but they ended their search at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

    “A six-foot alligator, my understanding is that’s not large enough to take a grown man down. We don’t know if that’s the case or not, but we do know the witness did indeed hear, ‘It bit me,’ as he was going into the water,” Williamson said. 

    Orange County Fire Rescue and the Orange County Sheriff's Office helped with the search. 

    FWC brought in its nuisance gator truck.

    Deputies said a small alligator was spotted in the retention pond, but there is no evidence the animal is related to the possible drowning.

    Information from WFTV was used in this report.

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