Alligator Bite Marks Found on Woman's Body Pulled From Florida Pond

The body of a woman has been pulled from a retention pond in Florida following a suspected alligator attack.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office (HSCO) attended the pond behind the Landing Bar and Grill at 4351 Lynx Paw Trail in Valrico just after 8:40 p.m. on July 4, following reports of a body.

Deputies found the victim's body in the water and requested HCSO's Underwater Recovery Team to retrieve it.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said in a statement that the woman's body appeared to have suffered injuries consistent with an alligator attack, but the cause of death has still not officially been determined, pending an examination by the Medical Examiner's Office.

HCSO's Underwater Recovery Team said that alligators are known to frequent the pond where the woman's body was pulled from.

"What a tragic ending to the 4th of July holiday for this woman's family and friends," Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a statement. "I want to thank our local partners for their cooperation with this investigation as we work to learn what led up to her death."

The victim has been identified by a family member as 29-year-old Shayla Silva. Speaking to Fox 13, Silva's stepmother, Mary Simpson, said that she suffered mental health problems and was due to start a new treatment plan before her death.

"She was her own person. A lot of people loved her," Simpson said.

The pond where Silva was pulled from was across the street from her home. Simpson said that Silva suffered from depression and was known to swim in it in the past.

"We really tried to keep our eyes on what she was doing. But yes, when she would get away from us, she would be walking down and go to the pond," Simpson said.

"This is a very hard, heartbreaking tragedy and I really don't want to see nobody else go through this," she added.

Simpson said that Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) laws slowed down the process to help the 29-year-old in getting the help she needed.

"I think if we could have went ahead and starting the shots like discussed and was hoped for before her release, I don't think we would be going through this," Simpson said.

The stepmother said she hopes HIPAA laws—which currently only allow healthcare providers to share an adult's mental health treatment information with family members with their consent—will change.

"I wish I knew how we could do a change to the HIPAA law when it involves a loved one so that we can be able to help them instead of having our hands tied," Simpson said.

The HCSO has been contacted for an update.

florida alligator attack
(File photo) An alligator is seen in the water during the final round of the 2021 PGA Championship held at the Ocean Course of Kiawah Island Golf Resort on May 23, 2021 in Kiawah Island, South Carolina. The body of a woman has been pulled from a retention pond in Florida following a suspected alligator attack. Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images