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Florida toddler found in alligator’s jaws was killed by father, police say

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A Florida toddler who was found dead in the jaws of an alligator last month was drowned by his father before falling into the animal’s grasp, according to police.

The cause of death for two-year-old Taylen Mosley was confirmed by the local coroner’s office, said a statement on Monday from police in St Petersburg.

News of Mosley’s death in early April sent shockwaves through Florida and drew national headlines. The toddler’s body was found in the mouth of an alligator shortly after a family member discovered the child’s mother, 20-year-old Pashun Jeffery, dead in the family’s apartment.

Police allege that Taylen’s father, Thomas Mosley, 21, stabbed Jeffery more than 100 times after a birthday party on 29 March, the Washington Post reported.

Later that night, Thomas Mosley arrived at his mother’s house with cuts to his arms and hands – which were consistent with injuries that commonly occur to attackers wielding knives – and became a suspect in Jeffrey’s killing, according to a police affidavit.

Meanwhile, after authorities found Jeffery’s body, Taylen was reported as missing, and detectives found his body on 31 March, NBC News reported.

Officers noticed the alligator in Lake Maggiore and spotted Taylen’s body in the animal’s mouth, according to the Associated Press. The autopsy whose results were announced on Monday made clear for the first time that the boy had died before the alligator encountered him.

Law enforcement officers shot the alligator to death and “were able to retrieve Taylen’s body intact”, the St Petersburg police chief, Anthony Holloway, said at a press conference in early April, the Associated Press noted.

“We are sorry it has had to end this way,” Holloway had told reporters.

Thomas Mosley has been booked on two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of both his son and the boy’s mother. He could face life imprisonment or the death penalty if convicted.

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( With inputs from : www.theguardian.com )

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