Police Confirm That a 504-Pound Alligator Killed a Louisiana Man During Hurricane Ida

by Josh Lanier

Timothy Satterlee Sr. went out to check on his shed after Hurricane Ida passed through his town of Slidell, Louisiana. He never returned home. Now, weeks later, DNA proved that remains found inside an alligator are of the 71-year-old. He’s likely the first person an alligator has killed in the state in hundreds of years.

Authorities captured and killed a 12-feet-long, 504-pound alligator earlier this month and found human remains inside its stomach. They sent those for testing, the Times-Picayune reported. Medical examiners compared that to his son’s DNA to verify the identity. Though even that posed its own set of problems, Coroner Charles Preston told the paper.

“Unfortunately a lot of the tissue that had been inside of the alligator’s stomach was severely degraded,” Preston said. “I’m comfortable saying the remains are that of Mr. Satterlee.”

Tim Satterlee waded into his flooded backyard on August 30 to survey the damage from Hurricane Ida. His wife said shortly after he stepped out the door she heard and loud splash. She assumed he fell into the water, but, when she looked out, she said she saw her husband fighting with a massive alligator. She ran to grab something to fight off the giant reptile.

When she got back, the gator had ripped his arm off and “had him in a death roll.” She pulled him free, and up a flight of steps. However, his injuries were so bad that she decided to leave him there and get help. The powerful Category-4 storm tore down power lines and cut off cell service. She jumped into a canoe to find help, but Timothee Saterlee Sr. was gone by the time she returned, the WWLT Daily Mail said.

Police spotted the alligator via a drone earlier this month and captured and killed it.

Man Killed by Alligator a Beloved Member of Community

Timothy Saterlee Sr. would have likely gone out to help his neighbors after checking his shed that day, people who knew him told Nola.com. He was a member of the St. Margaret Mary disaster response team, a group of volunteers that help out of storms.

“It’s such a devastating loss for our community,” said Robert Bywater, a member of the St. Margaret Mary Men’s Club. “People either knew him by name or by face.”

Since Saterlee retired from Textron, he dedicated his life to community service. He helped out at his grandsons’ elementary school and was always available when a neighbor called and needed help.

“They ain’t got too many people walking around the world like that these days. He was a rare gem. You need a friend, you need a favor, call Mr. Tim,” Erik Schneider told Nola.com. “He’ll be there with whatever you need and whatever he can give.”

Satterlee is believed to be the first person killed by an alligator in Louisiana since 1174. A French blacksmith named Jacques du Bois was the last, according to the St. Charles Herald Guide