Disney World tragedy: Sheriff says 'No question' boy taken by alligator is dead

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -
There's "no question" a child who was snatched by an alligator in a lake at Walt Disney World is dead, according to the Orange Country Sheriff in Florida.
 
Despite that prognostication, investigators with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office continued to search Wednesday morning for the missing 2-year-old boy.
 
"We are very hopeful," said Orange County Sheriff's Department spokesman Jeff Williamson at a morning news conference. "Sometimes you get the worst, but we are hoping for the best."
 
But a few hours later, Sheriff Jerry Demings delivered the sobering prediction that the boy's family "will no question lose a 2-year-old child."
According to the sheriff’s office, the boy was dragged into the Seven Seas Lagoon, a man-made lake, near Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa on Tuesday around 9:30 p.m. local time. 
 
Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said the family was vacationing from Nebraska with three children. The family was relaxing on the shoreline when the alligator suddenly attacked the toddler.
 
The gator is estimated to be between four and seven feet long. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission has taken four gators out of the water, but there is no evidence the organization caught the right gator. 
 
Demings explained that the boy's father entered the water and tried to grab him from the gator, but was unsuccessful. He walked away with scratches on his hands.
 
His parents then alerted a nearby lifeguard of the incident.
By 10 a.m. Wednesday, police -- who put crime-scene tape around the water -- still had not found signs of the victim or gator. 
 
 
A helicopter hovered over the Victorian-style hotel while officials with Reedy Creek Fire Rescue, Orange County and the Florida Fish and Wildlife officials assisted in the search.
 
More than 50 law enforcement personnel searched the lagoon in addition to an alligator tracker and two marine units in an effort that continued through the night, Williamson said. 
 
The hotel, one of three on the monorail line, is an upscale luxury resort owned by Disney and located right next to the Magic Kingdom Park.
 
While there are no signs warning of gators, there are notices posted against swimming in the lake. 
 
The incident is just the latest heartbreaking event to hit the city of Orlando in the last week, coming on the heels of a nightclub shooting that left 49 people dead, as well as the shooting death of singer and former "Voice" contestant Christina Grimmie.
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