69-year-old woman killed by an alligator drowned and had blunt force trauma, autopsy finds

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C (AP) — A 69-year-old woman killed by an alligator in South Carolina on Tuesday had drowned and experienced blunt force trauma, according to local news reports on the autopsy.

Holly Jenkins has been identified by the local coroner as the woman who the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources said was walking her dog near a neighborhood lagoon on Hilton Head Island when a 9.75-foot (3-meter) alligator “engaged,” WTOC-11 reported Friday.

The department said a necropsy report showed no evidence that anyone had fed the alligator, which was euthanized and removed from the lagoon. The Beaufort County Coroner’s Office told WTOC-11 that the woman suffered alligator bites, but it is unclear whether they happened before or after her death.

The local sheriff’s office said the death marked the second fatal alligator attack in Beaufort County over the past year.

The state Department of Natural Resources’ website reminds the public that feeding alligators is illegal and leads the animals to associate people with food. It recommends swimming only in designated areas and avoiding swims in the morning and evening, when alligators most actively eat. Maintaining a 10-foot (3-meter) distance from the water, where alligators hunt, is considered “a good starting point” for safety.

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