Disney installs statue honoring toddler killed by alligator

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (WESH) —Disney has erected a lighthouse sculpture honoring the toddler who was killed by an alligator while playing at a Central Florida resort last year.

In June 2016, an alligator grabbed 2-year-old Lane Graves, who was playing along the Seven Seas Lagoon beach outside Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.

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The child’s father, Matt Graves of Omaha, jumped into the water to try to free his son. The child’s body was found 16 hours later and his death was ruled an accident.

Disney installed the lighthouse sculpture this week.

“The lighthouse sculpture has been installed to help spread awareness of the Lane Thomas Foundation, which was established to provide assistance and support to families whose children need organ transplants,” a Disney spokesperson said.

In the year since Lane’s death, Disney has made numerous changes to increase safety for its guests. It added signs warning guests of reptiles in its waterways. It also constructed a boulder wall along the edge of the lagoon.

“We find comfort that so many people continue to remember our sweet boy, Lane, and we believe the lighthouse stands as a beacon of hope and support for families in the depths of despair. We will continue to honor Lane and preserve his spirit through the Lane Thomas Foundation,” the Graves family said.

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