Family Remembers Boy Killed by Alligator at Disney World | NBC Chicago
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Family Remembers Boy Killed by Alligator at Disney World

An emotional Melissa and Matt Graves spoke on what would have been Lane's third birthday



    Family and friends honored Lane Graves on what would have been his third birthday in Omaha, Nebraska, on Saturday. Everyone in attendance wore Lane's favorite color, blue. Lane died in June, when an alligator attacked him in a lagoon outside a Disney hotel. "You are in our hearts today and every second of every other day,” said Melissa Graves, his mother. “You will always be mommy's loving, sweet baby boy." (Published Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016)

    The parents of the toddler who was killed by an alligator at Walt Disney World say they will always remember their sweet little boy.

    An emotional Melissa and Matt Graves spoke to a group of several hundred people gathered at a high school football stadium Saturday to remember Lane Graves on what would have been his third birthday, The Omaha World-Herald reported.

    Melissa Graves said the family wanted to celebrate Lane's "first birthday in heaven.''

    "You'll always be Mommy's loving, sweet, baby boy. ... We miss you, buddy, and we miss those hugs and kisses,'' she said.

    Lane died June 14 after an alligator pulled him into a lagoon at Disney's upscale Grand Floridian Resort. He was gathering sand for a sand castle when the alligator bit his head. The final report on his death said the boy died from a crushing bite and drowning and that his dad reached into the alligator's mouth to try to save the boy.

    After Lane's death, Disney made changes to restrict visitor contact with alligators on the property. Fences and other barriers were built around some of the lakes, and "No Fishing'' signs were installed around waterfront areas. Disney World also limited fishing to excursions.

    Carl Court/Getty Images

    Matt Graves said Lane's life brought joy to the family.

    "My wife will tell you those are the happiest days of her life, and I couldn't agree with her more,'' he said. "Happy birthday, buddy.''

    He also said he appreciated all the support the family received from the community after Lane's death. The family also has a 4-year-old daughter.

    The crowd wore blue shirts and released blue balloons into the air.

    Matt and Melissa Graves offered M&M cookies because they were Lane's favorite treat and handed out small silver crosses with blue ribbons attached to a prayer card.

    The Graves have said they don't plan to file a lawsuit against Disney World.