MYAKKA CITY, Fla. — Twenty-four hours after Mother's Day, a picture Crystal Ingramm took is still hard to digest.
"I was sad more than anything else," said Ingramm.
The mom was driving with her family to a celebratory breakfast. Suddenly her husband pulled over when he spotted something strange near the forest preserve off Wachula and Taylor roads.
"He said, 'I think I saw an alligator on the side of the road,'" said Ingramm. "We thought it was caught in a barbed wire fence. When we got close we realized there were two of them and they were already dead, and their tails had been cut off."
Growing up in this small Myakka City community and used to seeing alligators, Ingramm immediately knew this was no accident.
"This was done for only one possible purpose, and they were discarded here," said Ingramm.
That's why she took the picture and posted it to a community page to let others know about the possible crime.
The photo was shared countless times, prompting people like Julie Morris to drive by the preserve.
"We need to find out who's doing it and make sure that this does not continue to happen," said Morris.
That's also why Crystal shared the photo with FWC, the state agency that oversees wildlife concerns.
"I know alligators are hunted, but there is a lawful and responsible way to do that. You don't obviously just cut their tails and leave all their body parts. This was not an act of hunting, this was something else," said Ingramm.
FWC allows alligator hunting in a very limited capacity.
The season doesn't even start until August. There are also specific rules on how to trap alligators, and cruelty is not an option.
It's why officers are taking this seriously. A spokesperson said it's too early to speculate, but if there is a sinister motive, there are repercussions.
Ingramm just hopes she can get the image out of her mind.
"To see them mutilated like that is shocking," she said.