Coroner confirms identity of man eaten by alligator in Hurricane Ida floodwaters
The St. Tammany Parish coroner has confirmed the remains of the man who was eaten by an alligator in the floodwaters after Hurricane Ida.
Charles Preston was able to confirm the man who was killed by the alligator was 71-year-old Timothy Satterlee.
Preston told CNN on Friday that he was able to confirm the remains through DNA testing after the authorities caught and euthanized the alligator.
The 12-foot, 504-pound alligator was caught earlier in September, and human remains were found in its stomach.
Satterlee was bitten by the alligator a day after Hurricane Ida hit the state, with the alligator ripping off his arm.
His wife left to get help, but his body was swept away by the water while she was gone.
“That the alligator was recovered from where he [Satterlee] was last seen, and that it was that close of a match, I felt comfortable for the family’s standard to say yes, this is Mr. Satterlee, yes, we are going to issue a death certificate, and yes, you can begin that process of trying to settle the estate,” Preston said.
Preston said that if the alligator was not found and the remains couldn’t be confirmed, he wouldn’t have been able to declare Satterlee dead for five years. Under Louisiana law, a coroner can’t declare that someone is presumed dead until they are missing for five years.
“You can imagine the burden that would put on his widow to try and manage the affairs,” Preston added.
“This is a horrible tragedy and my sincere condolences and sympathy goes to the Satterlee family,” St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Randy Smith said when the alligator was caught. “I know today’s findings does not bring their loved one back, but hopefully this can bring them some sort of closure.”