South Carolina authorities hunt for alligator after man found dead with "bad bite wounds"

By Brian Pascus

/ CBS News

Authorities in South Carolina are investigating a missing persons case in Kiawah Island after finding a body with what they believe to be alligator bite marks. According to CBS affiliate WCSC, officials with the Charleston County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) began investigating on Saturday afternoon when deputies responded to a report of a missing person on the island.

While investigator found the missing man's vehicle on the premises, they did not find a body until they checked a large pond in the back of his property. The man had not be seen since 10 a.m that morning.

"Due to the large size and irregular shape of the pond, deputies requested the Sheriff's Office helicopter to canvass the area by air," CCSO officials said."Helicopter observers located what appeared to be a motionless person in the pond, out of sight from the residence."

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Agents with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources said they were told that someone had reported seeing an alligator on top of a man at a pond off Kiawah Island Club Drive, the station reported.

Deputies believe the deceased individual is the person originally reported as missing. Investigators confirmed they found "bad bite wounds" on the man's body that are consistent with marks sustained from an alligator encounter.

The South Carolina DNR is currently searching for the alligator. In a statement, Kiawah Island Mayor Craig Weaver said in part, "I am deeply saddened by this tragedy. Kiawah Island is a small community of well-acquainted friends and neighbors and this loss will be felt by the entire community. On behalf of myself and the Town, we extend our condolences to the family."

On Saturday evening, Kiawah Island released a statement on their Facebook page about safety tips on alligators.

Kiawah Island is home to a healthy population of alligators numbering close to 700. Alligators can be seen in almost all…

Posted by Town of Kiawah Island, SC on Saturday, June 22, 2019

First published on June 24, 2019 / 10:22 AM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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