The body of a 2-year-old Florida boy who had been the subject of a frantic search after his mother was slain was found Friday in a lake in the jaws of an alligator, police said.
St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway also said the boy's father, 21-year-old Thomas Mosley, will be charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the killing of the boy's mother, 20-year-old Pashun Jeffery, and their young son Taylen Mosley.
Searchers, including dive teams and officers using drones, had been intensely looking for the boy since his mother's body was discovered in their apartment earlier this week and he was nowhere to be found.
Get Boston local news, weather forecasts, lifestyle and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Boston’s newsletters.
"We are sorry it has had to end this way,” Holloway said during a Friday night news conference.
Officers searching for the toddler at a lake a few miles from the apartment complex noticed an alligator “with an object in its mouth” that they quickly realized was a child's body, Holloway said. They fired shots at the reptile, which dropped the body.
"We were able to retrieve Taylen’s body intact,” the chief said. The alligator was euthanized.
U.S. & World
Thomas Mosley is hospitalized with cuts on his hands and arms and has refused to talk to investigators, Holloway said. He does not yet have a lawyer to speak on his behalf.
“The father is not talking to us,” he added.
Jeffery, who worked at a CVS store, and her son were last seen by family members around 5:20 p.m. Wednesday. Police have said around 8:30 p.m. neighbors heard a loud commotion near their apartment but police were not called.
The next day, Jeffery's mother contacted the apartment complex property manager after not hearing from her daughter. That's when they found her dead in what Holloway described as “a very violent crime scene" in which Jeffery had been stabbed numerous times.
Police have not revealed how Taylen Mosley was killed or whether the alligator played any role in that.
Thomas Mosley went to his mother's house about 9 p.m. Wednesday with the cuts on his arms and hands, Holloway said, and then admitted himself to a local hospital, where he remained Friday night.
Family members said Jeffery and Taylen had just moved into the apartment complex about a month ago.