Parents of Boy Killed by Alligator Speak Out for First Time


On Saturday, September 3, Lane Graves, the 2-year-old boy who was killed by an alligator at Orlando’s Walt Disney World in June, would have turned three years old. His parents spoke publicly for the first time since their son’s death on his birthday at a memorial celebration.

Melissa Graves gave a tearful and heartfelt statement to the hundreds of friends, family members and neighbors at Elkhorn South High School in Elton, Nebraska:

“Anyone who knows me knows I don’t like to speak but, my baby, I owe it to him to honor him. So his mommy needed to say, ‘Happy birthday, Lanie. You’re in our hearts today and every second of every other day. You’ll always be Mommy’s loving, sweet baby boy. When we were apart, you would tell us, ‘I missed you,’ as we walked through the door. You would always come running with a big hug and kiss. We miss you buddy, and we miss those hugs and kisses. We all love you so very, very much.”

Matt Graves, Melissa’s husband and Lane’s father, also gave a statement at the birthday celebration:

“Today, Lane would have turned 3 years old, but we celebrate his first birthday in heaven with the community that has surrounded us with love and support. Melissa and I often speak of how lucky we were to have spent two years, 11 months and 11 days as a complete family. My wife would tell you those were the happiest days of her life and I couldn’t agree more. What I’m also confident about is that our faith has lifted us up as we fight every day to find peace. We would not have been able to get through the pain without this community, our friends and family, and for that we say thank you. There really is no place like Nebraska. Happy birthday, buddy. We miss you LT.”

The parents have started the charitable Lane Thomas Foundation to honor their son’s memory. May he rest in peace and may the Graves family find solace.

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