Soon after remains from a woman attacked by an alligator at a Davie park were found inside the 12-foot, 6-inch reptile, her body has been found, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reported.
FWC spokesman Rob Klepper said in a statement that Shizuka Matsuki, 47, of Plantation, was found at 9:49 p.m. Friday in a lake at Silver Lakes Rotary Nature Park.
"We would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Ms. Matsuki," Klepper wrote.
Matsuki, who lived in Plantation, was walking her dogs on the path around the pond, just west of Florida’s Turnpike, when she was grabbed by the gator Friday morning. One of her pit bulls was also bitten in the attack.
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Neighbors who have homes surrounding Silver Lakes say they have seen alligators at the park before and have lost pets who wandered too close to the waterline.
Matsuki might unknowingly have switched one dangerous setting for another.
Living in a gated community surrounded by canals — and plagued by wayward alligators — Matsuki might have decided to walk her dogs at Silver Lakes Rotary preserve to avoid the gator-filled waters in her own Plantation neighborhood.
Nate Fischer, a neighbor of Matsuki's who fishes regularly around their neighborhood, told the Miami Herald on Saturday afternoon that Matsuki’s dogs liked to roam and swim in the canal off leash, but that recent gator spottings in the area — and the death of a neighborhood dog killed by a gator — may have forced Matsuki to rethink her routine.
"I think she stopped walking her dogs behind our house when one of our neighbor's dogs was taken by a alligator,” Fischer wrote on his Facebook page.
“She probably thought that Lake was [a] safer alternative, after so many gators have been showing up around here lately.”
Fischer added that, especially in Florida, “You have to be ready for anything.”
It is unclear if Matsuki’s dogs were leashed during the attack on Friday.
Two days ago, a neighbor photographed an alligator lounging on her front porch and reported it to the police. The home owners' association sent out a memo urging caution.
“Please use caution around the boat ramp and anywhere in the community; we live surrounded by water in Florida and need to exercise caution with our families and pets,” the memo reads. “Thanks for being alert to your surroundings.”
Several cars were parked outside Matsuki’s home on Saturday afternoon, hours after officials announced they had found her body in the lake. A man who greeted reporters at the home said the family requested privacy at this time.
The FWC is currently investigating the incident and said the park will remain closed until further notice.