Authorities are investigating the possibility that an alligator was involved Saturday in the disappearance and death of a Keesler airman whose body was recovered Sunday from the Tchoutacabouffa River.
The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks and the state Department of Marine Resources are assisting the Biloxi Police Department with the investigation into the death of Staff Sgt. Luis O. Cisneros-Godinez, who disappeared from behind Arbor Landing on the River off Popp’s Ferry Road.
“We do know that there were alligators in the area during that time,” said Keith Davis, DMR’s chief of Marine Patrol.
Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove has not yet determined a cause of death for Cisneros-Godinez, a 31-year-old from Colorado Springs, Colorado, a medical lab technician assigned to Keesler’s 81st Training Wing.
However, both DWFP and DMR are warning people not to feed alligators. DMR included the warning in a news release Saturday about the airman’s disappearance.
Ricky Flynt of MDWFP told the Sun Herald on Tuesday the warning is for a good reason: “They begin to associate human activities with a source of food. That is a real concern to us in all incidents in all locations. It is against the law for that very reason.”
Feeding alligators in the wild is a misdemeanor that carries a $100 fine, plus court costs.
Flynt asked that anyone with information about individuals feeding or harassing alligators, particularly in the area of Arbor Landing on Saturday, call MDWFP’s 24-hour telephone line: 1-800-237-6278.
Staff writer Jeff Clark contributed to this report.