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Homeowner's association sent alligator warning days before deadly attack

Warning issued before deadly gator attack

DAVIE, Fla. -- Two days before a South Florida woman was fatally attacked by an alligator, an emailed warning about a trespassing gator was sent out to homeowners in the waterfront community where she lived. The Miami Herald reported over the weekend it was unknown if Shizuka Matsuki ever got the warning.

The email from the Isla de Sol Homeowners Association in Plantation, Florida, notified residents that an alligator had been trapped at a resident's front door. It warned residents to be mindful that gators, snakes and other wildlife lived in the area.

Matsuki's body was found Friday in a lake in Davie, Florida, hours after she had gone missing at a park about eight miles from her neighborhood.

A witness told authorities he saw the woman walking two dogs and then noticed the dogs alone, barking near the water.

Chief suspect in woman's disappearance is a large alligator

Officials captured and killed an alligator Friday and found evidence during a necropsy of the animal that it had bitten Matsuki.

"We would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Ms. Matsuki," conservation commission spokesman Rob Klepper said in a statement.

Alligators are opportunistic feeders that will eat what is readily available and easily overpowered. Feeding wild alligators is illegal because they could lose their fear of humans.

Fatal attacks on humans remain rare, however. According to the wildlife commission, the likelihood of a Florida resident being seriously injured during an unprovoked alligator incident in Florida is roughly only 1 in 3.2 million.

From 1948 to 2017, the commission has documented 401 people bitten by alligators, including 24 fatalities. The most recent death occurred in 2016, when a 2-year-old boy playing near the water's edge at a Walt Disney World resort was killed.

The park where Matsuki disappeared Friday is near the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, a major Miami-area tourist and entertainment attraction.

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