After the alligator was killed, a necropsy found the dead man’s hand and foot inside the gator’s stomach.

FORT MEADE — The body of a Wauchula man discovered Thursday in a canal on Mosaic property west of Fort Meade had partially been eaten by an alligator.

Polk County Sheriff’s Office reported that detail Saturday morning as a joint investigation with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission continues into the death of 45-year-old Michael Ford II.

In an investigation update, PCSO noted that Ford’s body was found floating in the water by a Mosaic employee who told authorities that an alligator had a part of the dead man’s body in his mouth. That 911 call came in around 7:43 a.m. Thursday from a location just off Peeples Road near County Road 630.

When first responders arrived on scene, according to the Sheriff’s Office, the gator had disengaged from Ford’s body in the water. The FWC then trapped and killed the alligator, and a necropsy was performed. Ford’s hand and foot were found inside the gator’s stomach.

The PCSO said an autopsy revealed that Ford had other lacerations and injuries caused by the gator, and his apparent cause of death was drowning, although the final cause and manner of death are pending toxicology.

The investigation update added that detectives impounded a truck found at the scene and determined it belonged to a friend of Ford’s who had recently agreed to sell it to him. Neither the friend nor Ford’s family had heard from him since last Sunday.