The boy, Taylen Mosley, was reported missing after his mother, Pashun Jeffery, 20, was found dead in her apartment Thursday afternoon with multiple stab wounds, St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway said in a news conference Friday.
Taylen’s father, Thomas Mosley, was taken into custody for both deaths and is facing two counts of first degree murder, St. Petersburg police said.
Police spotted an alligator in Dell Homes Park, which is just miles from the apartment where Jeffery was found dead, with an object in its mouth. Officers fired a single round at the reptile and it dropped the object, Holloway said.
Officers were able to then retrieve the object, finding Taylen’s body intact. “We didn’t want to find him this way, but at least we can bring some closure to that family now,” Holloway said.
Thomas was checked into a hospital Friday with cuts to his hands and arms, Holloway said. He was later booked in the Pinellas County jail, online jail records show. Thomas did not want to speak to authorities and asked for an attorney, though it was not clear Saturday whether he had obtained legal representation yet.
Authorities say the investigation is still ongoing and have not released information on Taylen’s cause of death or how he ended up in the park.