Parenting blogger Kristen Howerton posted an undated photo showing her kids playing at the Disney resort near where an alligator attacked 2-year-old Lane Graves, as a way to encourage empathy for and no judgement against Lane's parents.
"Here's a picture of my kids playing in the same Disney resort lagoon where a child was attacked by an alligator," she wrote. "And yep - they waded into the water some too."
Lane’s body was found within the immediate area of where he was last seen, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said. Sonar equipment was used in the “murky” water to make the recovery, in about 10 to 15 feet of water, he said.
Officials will perform an autopsy but the sheriff said he believes “the child was drowned by the alligator.”
The sheriff described the family’s last night together as a pleasant one with no hint of the horror about to strike. The Graves have a 4-year-old as well, and the foursome was enjoying time together just before the gator struck.
“They were sitting there, enjoying the evening,” Demings said. “This 2-year-old was along the bank, playing in the water when this occurred.”
He added that Lane wasn't doing anything that any other kid wouldn't reasonably do at a beach area on a pleasant Florida evening. Howerton's post was meant to offer support and to dissuade anyone from casting aspersions on Lane's family. His dad tried fighting off the gator with his bare hands, officials have said.
"It's easy to throw other parents under the bus when something terrible happens because we want to believe ourselves better," Howerton wrote. "We want to comfort ourselves with the idea that our superior parenting could prevent a tragedy. That bad things could only befall an incompetent parent, and if we are competent enough we are safe from harm. But the truth is, bad things happen to good parents, and they deserve our empathy, not our judgement."