Melissa and Matt Graves were on holiday at Disney World’s Floridian Resort and Spa, when an alligator killed their son, Lane, who was playing in the shallows of a lagoon.
The couple released the following statement on their church’s website:
'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.'
'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," the couple added 'Neither Melissa, myself or anyone from our family will be speaking publicly; we simply cannot at this time.'
Lane’s parents and 4-year-old sister Ella retuned to home in Nebraska on Thursday and have asked for privacy to grieve.
Lane Graves was playing in the shallows of the Seven Seas Lagoon, when an alligator attacked him from the water. Witnesses described the alligator as being between 1.2 and 2.1 metres long. According to the Associated Press, Matt Graves desperately tried to save his son, suffering lacerations on his hand in the battle, but tragically neither he nor a lifeguard could save him.
Lane’s body was found ‘in tact’ 15 hours later. During the search, it was reported that five alligators were captured and euthanised.
At the time of the tragedy, signs around the lagoons and lakes at the resort simply read 'No Swimming Allowed, Thank You.' However officials at Disney World have since reviewed the signs and installed new, clearer versions.