FORT MEADE, Fla. — Authorities have released more details into the death of a man whose body was found floating in a canal on Mosaic property in Fort Meade on Thursday.
- Body of Michael Ford II, 45, found in canal on Mosaic propert
- Gator nearby had part of Ford's body in mouth, officials say
- Initial autopsy report said apparent cause of death is drowning
- PREVIOUS: 911 Call Released After Gator Captured Near Body in Polk Canal
According to the Polk County Sheriff's Office, when a Mosaic employee found the victim, identified as 45-year-old Michael Ford II of Wauchula, a large alligator was nearby with a part of the man's body in his mouth.
Officer Ashley Tyer of Florida Wildlife Commission said the alligator was 11 feet, 10 inches and just shy of 450 pounds.
A necropsy was performed on the gator after FWC trapped and killed the animal, revealing Ford's hand and foot inside the gator's stomach.
According to an autopsy report on Ford, he sustained other lacerations and injuries from the gator, but his apparent cause of death is drowning. However, his final cause and manner of death are pending toxicology.
Detectives determined that a truck found near the scene belonged to a friend of Ford's who had recently agreed to sell it to Ford. Neither the friend nor Ford's family had heard from his since June 23.
The area where the body and gator were found is private property in a rural secluded area.
Detectives are still working to find out why the man was out there.
"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."
Mosaic said the property is used for agriculture operations where they grow sod, blueberries, and allow people to rent the property for cattle grazing.
FWC is investigating the incident alongside the Polk County Sheriff's Office.