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Graves Family Releases New Statement, Are ‘Overwhelmed’ With Love and Support After Son Lane Killed by Alligator at Disney World

The Graves family released an emotional new statement on Saturday, June 18, days after their 2-year-old son, Lane, was killed by an alligator at Orlando’s Walt Disney World.

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“Melissa and I continue to deal with the loss of our beloved boy, Lane, and are overwhelmed with the support and love we have received from family and friends in our community as well as from around the country,” Matt and Melissa Graves wrote in a statement released to KETV News. “We understand the public’s interest, but as we move forward this weekend, we ask for and appreciate the privacy we need to lay our son to rest. Neither Melissa, myself or anyone from our family will be speaking publicly; we simply cannot at this time.”

As Us Weekly previously reported, Lane was playing in the shallows of a lagoon at a Disney World resort on Tuesday, June 14, when he was grabbed by an alligator and died from “drowning and traumatic injuries.” The toddler, his parents and his 4-year-old sister, Ella, were vacationing at the theme park from Nebraska.

Lane Graves
Lane Graves

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The Graves family also released a statement on Thursday, June 16, writing, “Words cannot describe the shock and grief our family is experiencing over the loss of our son. We are devastated and ask for privacy during this extremely difficult time. To all of the local authorities and staff who worked tirelessly these past 24 hours, we express our deepest gratitude.”

Matt attempted to grab Lane back from the reptile but was unsuccessful. The Disney resort has since added warning signs to the area.

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Amy Alvano, a family friend, wrote an open letter to Sheriff Jerry Demings and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department via Facebook on Thursday, thanking the officers for “circling around” and “protecting” the Graves when their family and friends couldn’t be there. “It is something we will never be able to repay,” Alvano wrote.

“You made it clear that they did nothing wrong, that they were good parents,” Alvaro told Demings. “That they did nothing different than most people would do on that beach. You drove the point home that this was just a freak accident and they weren’t the ones to blame. You made the world understand that they fought desperately to save Lane. You made them understand how fiercely they love their children. That they would have given up their own lives for them in a split second.”

The Graves family’s parish, the St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Elkhorn, Nebraska, is set to hold a mass service in memory of Lane for the local community on Sunday, June 19.

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