The person whose lifeless body was seen being carried in the jaws of a 14-foot alligator was arrested just two months ago for trespassing on county wetland property. Sabrina Peckham, 41, was identified by the police as the victim who was dragged by the alligator in a canal along a residential street in Largo, a small community located four miles south of Clearwater.
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office responded to reports of a body in the waterway near 134th Avenue North and 121st Street in Ridgecrest, Florida after getting reports of a body in the waterway, according to FOX 13.
Arrested Just Months Before Death
Authorities, along with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, took necessary steps to “humanely kill” the alligator involved in the incident. Blood could be seen near the alligator.
Peckham, a homeless woman, was arrested by Pinellas County deputies at around 6:30 a.m. on July 14 for trespassing onto county wetlands, located just half a mile from the tragic location where her lifeless body was found on Friday, according to court records.
Peckham ignored posted signs that explicitly warned against unlawful entry into the county wetlands, as indicated in the court records.
Following her no contest plea to the misdemeanor charge, Peckham was released from the county on September 8. Additionally, she was ordered to pay a fine of $500.
However, it remains unclear where the transient woman was in the two weeks leading up to her tragic discovery in the waterway.
Records reveal a history of her encounters with law enforcement dating back to 2014, including various trespassing charges, as well as multiple convictions related to drugs and theft.
Investigators are actively working to determine whether Peckham’s death was a result of the alligator’s actions, and further investigations are underway to determine the circumstances surrounding her tragic death.
“I saw the gator. It appeared to be a body in his mouth, so I started recording,” JaMarcus Bullard told Spectrum Bay News 9.
“I picked up a rock to hit it, it was a lower torso in his mouth. It just like swam backward down into the lower canal.”
Upon witnessing the gruesome sight, Bullard, who was on his way to a job interview, quickly notified the Largo Fire Department, just a few steps away from the gory scene.
Emergency responders swiftly took action, retrieving the alligator from the water and, as described by Bullard, shooting it “a few times” to neutralize the threat.
“A lot of my neighbors were out here and they’re the ones that told me about the gator,” area resident Jennifer Dean told the outlet.
“While we were standing here we heard a shot, I assume they killed the gator.”
At the location, investigators were present alongside the alligator, which showed visible signs of blood, and seemed to measure at least 14 feet in length.
The area is near the popular Ridgecrest Park, which includes a 5-acre lake known to house alligators.
According to Dean, alligators are known to roam the neighborhood regularly. However, the alligator euthanized on Friday was notably one of the largest she had ever encountered.