FORT MEADE, Fla. — Polk County investigators are trying to figure out whether an alligator killed a man.

  • Body found in canal on Mosaic property near Fort Meade
  • Officials said alligator found near man's body; gator captured
  • Gator weighed about 450 pounds; was killed by trappers

The man's body was found Thursday morning in a canal on Mosaic property in Fort Meade. There was a gator nearby.

A worker saw the body behind some trees. Mosaic officials said they do not believe the man found in the water was an employee.

The employee called 911 just before 8 a.m. Thursday to notify authorities of the body.

"Yes, one of my employees on inspection at the mine here at Mosaic found a body floating in the one of our hydraulic ditches with a gator a hold of it," the employee said in the 911 call.

Authorities are working to determine if the alligator was involved in the man's death.

The gator was killed by trappers.

Officer Ashley Tyer of Florida Wildlife Commission said the alligator was 11 feet 10 inches and just shy of 450 pounds.

The area where the body and gator were found is private property in a rural secluded area.

"Sometimes people trespass on mosaic property and fish. We get those calls too," said Carrie Horstman of the Polk County Sheriff's Office. "This person could've been fishing. Who knows why he was out there. Hopefully we'll be able to figure all of that out."

Investigators are examining a pickup found at the scene, hoping it will provide them clues about what happened here.  

"We have to decide who that vehicle belongs to and if it's the same person," Horstman said. "I believe that person got there by vehicle, whether it's his own vehicle or he was left there, and the vehicle was left there. We don't know any of that yet."

The body hasn't been identified.

Mosaic said the property is used for agriculture operations where they grow sod, blueberries, and allow people to rent the property for cattle grazing.