Hundreds Honor Birthday of Boy Killed by Alligator

'You'll always be Mommy's loving, sweet, baby boy'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 5, 2016 12:54 AM CDT
Family Holds Birthday Memorial for Boy Killed by Gator
In this Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016, photo, banners with a collage of photos of Lane Graves and his family hang on display with blue balloons and ribbons for a Love for Lane Celebration on what would have been his third birthday at Elkhorn South High School in Omaha, Neb.    (Rebecca S. Gratz)

The parents of the toddler who was killed by an alligator at Walt Disney World in Florida say they will always remember their sweet little boy. 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 reports. Lane died June 14 after an alligator pulled him into a lagoon at Disney's upscale Grand Floridian Resort while he was gathering sand for a sand castle. After Lane's death, Disney made changes to restrict visitor contact with alligators on the property. The Graves have said they don't plan to file a lawsuit against Disney World, the AP reports.

Melissa Graves said the family wanted to celebrate Lane's "first birthday in heaven." "You'll always be Mommy's loving, sweet, baby boy," Melissa Graves said. "We miss you, buddy, and we miss those hugs and kisses." 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. (More alligator stories.)

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