(Bartow) An employee of Mosaic stumbled upon a grizzly scene when he found a 450 pound alligator with a man’s body in his mouth in one of the hydraulic ditches at the old Fort Meade phosphate mine on the Bartow property of the world’s largest phosphate supplier.
Currently, The Florida Wildlife Commission and Polk County Sheriff’s Office are conducting a joint investigation into the death of 45-year-old Michael Ford II of Wauchula, whose body was found floating in water on Mosaic property on Thursday, June 27, 2019.
When he was found by a Mosaic employee, a large alligator had a part of Ford’s body in his mouth.
According to investigators, when first responders arrived on-scene, the gator had released Ford’s body from it’s jaws.
The FWC trapped and killed the alligator, and a necropsy was performed. Ford’s hand and foot were found inside the gator’s stomach.
An autopsy revealed that Ford had other lacerations and injuries caused by the gator, and his apparent cause of death is drowning, although his final cause and manner of death are pending toxicology.
PCSO detectives impounded a truck found at the scene and determined it belonged to a friend of Ford’s who had recently agreed to sell it to Ford.
Neither the friend nor Ford’s family had heard from him since Sunday, June 23, 2019.