Carol Hough alligator attack: Necropsy results don't prove gator ate Lake County 84-year-old's arm

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. -- A 8-foot long alligator was shot and killed in Lake County Wednesday just hours after trappers say it ripped off an elderly woman's arm.

Carol Hough, 84, apparently fell into a canal behind her Leesburg mobile home and was then attacked.  An alligator bit off her arm above the elbow.

The necropsy results, however, do not definitively prove the alligator was the alligator responsible. 

Officers say they found pieces of hamburger in the gator's belly but not one piece of Hough's arm. 

Hough was outside of her mobile home standing on her dock when she fell in the canal where neighbors say gators are a common site.

"I seen an elderly lady in the water, flailing in the water and hollering the best she could," said neighbor Delmas Zickefoose.

Zickefoose was drinking his morning coffee when he heard Hough shriek.  He immediately called 911.  Unaware a gator was eating his neighbor, he jumped in the water to save her.

"Went into the water and grabbed her and kept her head above water and walked her back to my shore," he explained.

The gator bit Hough's arm off somewhere between her elbow and shoulder blade.

Zickefoose said he was surprised by the lack of blood and that Hough kept saying the word gator.

"I looked down and her arm was gone. I just held her. I just held her like this.  Just caressed her you know. I just kept telling her, 'things are going to be OK... rescue squads on the way.'"

Hough was airlifted to an Orlando hospital and underwent surgery.  She is still in the hospital but expected to make a full recovery.

Despite the necropsy results, trappers still believe they caught and killed the responsible gator.

Trappers did say finding hamburger meat in the gator's belly shows someone was feeding it.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments