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Charleston coroner: Kiawah Island man dead before alligator attack

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources found the alligator on Sunday.
Credit: Thinkstock
File photo of an American alligator

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. — A man thought missing in Kiawah Island over the weekend and later found in a pond near his home has died of natural causes according to the Charleston county coroner 

John Elias, 79, was reported missing on Sunday morning June 23 an was located by Charleston deputies in a pond near his home on Kiawah Island Club drive.   

When deputies found him he had injuries consistent with an encounter with a large alligator. 

RELATED: Man found with apparent gator bite marks in South Carolina

“This is an incredibly sad and tragic situation and our thoughts are with the Elias family as they grieve the loss of their loved one,” said Wooten. “The results of the autopsy indicate that Mr. Elias died of natural causes prior to being found by the alligator. The injuries he sustained were post-mortem in nature.” 

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources located the large alligator on Sunday afternoon and was euthanized.  After a necropsy performed by SCDNR, the contents of the animal’s digestive tract were collected by the Coroner’s Office as a part of the autopsy process. 

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