Dad of boy killed by gator at Disney: Family 'overwhelmed' by support and love

Dad of boy killed by gator at Disney: Family has been "overwhelmed" by support and love

The father of Lane Graves, the 2-year-old boy killed by an alligator at Walt Disney World on Tuesday night, released a statement to a Nebraska television station Saturday.

"Melissa and I continue to deal with the loss of our beloved boy, Lane, and are overwhelmed with the support and love we have received from family and friends in our community as well as from around the country," Matt Graves wrote in a statement released to KETV-7 in Omaha. "We understand the public's interest, but as we move forward this weekend, we ask for and appreciate the privacy we need to lay our son to rest. Neither Melissa, myself or anyone from our family will be speaking publicly; we simply cannot at this time."

The Graves family, of Elkhorn, Neb., had already released an earlier statement saying they were in grief and shock and thanking local authorities and staff for their search for Lane. The boy was snatched by an alligator Tuesday night on the shores of the Seven Seas Lagoon at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.

Also this week, a family friend posted a lengthy open letter to Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings and the Orange County Sheriff's Office on Facebook thanking him for all the agency did for the family.

"Thank you for circling around them and protecting them when we couldn't be there to do it," Amy Alvano wrote on Facebook. "It is something we will never be able to repay. We will continue to pray for your community as it comes to terms with all of the unfathomable events that have taken place over the last week."

Disney on Friday began putting up fencing and signs at its resorts with beaches warning of alligators and snakes in the area.

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