Father Drowned Son Whose Body Was Found in Alligator’s Mouth, Police Say

A 2-year-old boy whose body was found in the jaws of an alligator in Florida was drowned by his father, who also killed the child’s mother, the authorities said on Monday.

Taylen Mosley’s body was found in Lake Maggiore in St. Petersburg, Fla., on March 31, a day after he was reported missing. His mother, Pashun Jeffery, was found dead on March 30 with stab wounds.

On March 31, Thomas Mosley, 21, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Ms. Jeffery and their child, the St. Petersburg Police Department said. Mr. Mosley was being held at the Pinellas County Jail.

The police said on Monday that the Pinellas County medical examiner had confirmed the cause of death as drowning.

The Public Defender’s Office of the Sixth Judicial Circuit in Clearwater, Fla., did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.

A search for the boy began after his mother was found stabbed to death in her apartment and included an Amber Alert, the police said.

Ms. Jeffery’s family members grew concerned when she did not answer a daily FaceTime call. They went to the apartment where she had been living for about a month and saw blood on the sidewalk outside.

Managers of the apartment complex who entered her unit described it as “a very violent crime scene,” according to an affidavit.

The search for the toddler concluded the next day at the lake in Dell Holmes Park, about four miles southwest of downtown St. Petersburg. Detectives shot and killed an alligator with “an object,” later identified as the boy’s body, in its mouth.

Ms. Jeffery worked at a nearby CVS and would regularly talk with Taylen on FaceTime during her breaks, according to a GoFundMe post written by her family.

“We will miss her smile, joyous laughter and commentary on life,” the family said. “Taylen was a sweet and happy toddler and loved his mom.”

A funeral was held for Ms. Jeffery and Taylen on April 7.

“Pashun looked so beautiful, and Taylen was cool with his sunglasses on,” the family said. “It was a long and difficult day, but the support from our families and friends and the greater community made it possible to push through.”

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