SLIDELL, La. - Two weeks to the day since Timothy Satterlee, Sr. was last seen alive after he was attacked by an alligator and disappeared, St. Tammany Parish officials said they captured the 12-foot-long reptile they believe killed him.
The alligator, which weighed more than 500 pounds, was captured in the Avery Estates neighborhood in Slidell, near where Satterlee, 71, was last seen. It had human remains in its stomach, parish officials said.
After Hurricane Ida, Satterlee had gone outside to check on something in the shed behind his raised home when his wife heard a splash and thought he had fallen into water rising from the nearby marsh, she told officials at the time.
Instead, she saw her husband being attacked by an alligator that "had him in a death roll," said Capt. Lance Vitter, a spokesperson for the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office. She went to find something to help, but when she returned the alligator had ripped off his arm. He was unconscious.
She got into a pirogue and paddled to where she could get in touch with the Sheriff's Office. Neither her phone nor 911 was working in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida passing the area a day earlier. When deputies arrived, there was no sign of the man.
Since then, Special Operation Division deputies, along with U. S. and Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries agents, have engaged in a search for the alligator or Satterlee's remains, at one point using cadaver dogs. This weekend, U.S. wildlife agents saw a large alligator near where Satterlee disappeared and set traps. Monday morning, the alligator was trapped and brought to a site to be searched.
Officials found what appear to be human remains inside its stomach, the sheriff's office said.
The St. Tammany Parish Coroner will verify that the remains belong to Satterlee.
“This is a horrible tragedy and my sincere condolences and sympathy goes to the Satterlee family," St. Tammany Parish sheriff Randy Smith said. "I know todays findings does not bring their loved one back, but hopefully this can bring them some sort of closure. I am very proud of the hard, non-stop work, of my deputies and the other agencies who assisted, and I hope their persistence in finding this alligator will help the family with coping with their loss. We will continue to keep them in our prayers,” Smith said.