Coroner identifies remains inside 500-pound alligator as man who went missing after Hurricane Ida

The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s office announced last week the alligator had been captured in the same area Satterlee went missing.

Dr. Charles Preston, the coroner for the parish, told CNN on Friday that the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries tracked the animal down, euthanized it and found human remains inside.

“Then our office was notified and I actually went out there with our investigators,” Preston said, adding that after safety preparations, they began to recover the remains.

DNA samples from the remains provided an 11-point match to DNA from Satterlee’s children. The coroner said he was able to rule on the identity based on the DNA match as well as the “totality of the circumstances.”

“That the alligator was recovered from where he [Satterlee] was last seen, and that it was that close of a match, I felt comfortable for the family’s standard to say yes, this is Mr. Satterlee, yes, we are going to issue a death certificate, and yes, you can begin that process of trying to settle the estate,” Preston said.

He added that he was thankful that local authorities continued a “relentless” pursuit of the alligator. Louisiana law allows a coroner’s office to declare somebody presumed dead, but that person has to be missing for five years.

“You can imagine the burden that would put on his widow to try and manage the affairs,” Preston said.