A man who was found dead in a Kiawah Island, South Carolina, pond with bite marks and wounds believed to be from an alligator did not die as a result of those bites, according to the Charleston County coroner’s office.
An autopsy revealed that 79-year-old John Elias died of natural causes.
“The results of the autopsy indicate that Mr. Elias died of natural causes prior to being found by the alligator. The injuries he sustained were post-mortem in nature,” Coroner Rae Wooten said in a news release.
Elias lived adjacent to the pond where he was found Saturday afternoon after he was reported missing that morning, according to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
The agency said that the injuries were consistent “with an encounter with a large alligator” which prompted a search for an alligator “known to inhabit the pond.”
On Sunday afternoon, the alligator was found and euthanized, the news release said. “After a necropsy was performed by SCDNR, the contents of the animal’s digestive tract were collected by the Coroner’s Office as part of the autopsy process.”
Wooten said, “this is an incredibly sad and tragic situation and our thoughts are will the Elias family as they grieve the loss of their loved one.”