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Missing 2-year-old boy found dead in alligator’s mouth

Taylen Mosley

Taylen Mosley, 2, appears in images from the St. Petersburg Police Department in March 2023.

The body of a missing 2-year-old boy was found Friday evening in the jaws of an alligator in a lake in St. Petersburg, Florida, authorities said.

The sad discovery capped off a multi-day search for Taylen Mosley, whose mother was murdered earlier this week inside their home in what police described as a “very violent homicide.”

“It is with great sadness that I have to tell you that we found the body of Taylen Mosley,” St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway said in a press release. “My condolences to his family.

The search began on Thursday afternoon after the boy’s mother, Pashun Jeffrey, 20, was found brutally murdered. Officers responded to a 911 call at about 2:30 p.m. on Thursday regarding a disturbance at the Lincoln Shores Apartment Complex on Fourth Street North. Upon arrival, first responders say they found Jeffrey dead while Mosley was nowhere to be found. Police said the boy “could be in danger.”

According to the SPPD, the entirety of the department’s resources were marshaled to find Taylen Mosley. Various other local, state and federal agencies also assisted in the search.

Detectives obtained information that led them to three distinct locations in Pinellas County – including Lake Maggiore, a vast, 362-acre public lake named after the longest lake in Italy.

Dive teams and drones were employed in the search efforts. Eventually, officers noted the presence of the alligator “with an object in its mouth,” Holloway said at a press conference on Friday night in comments reported by the Associated Press. Police realized the object was a child’s body, and shots were fired at the animal that dropped the boy’s body.

The alligator was eventually killed.

“We were able to retrieve Taylen’s body intact,” the police chief said.

Holloway said Jeffrey’s family last saw her and Mosley at around 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday at their apartment.

Jeffrey’s mother called the apartment manager Thursday afternoon and requested he check on her daughter and grandson because they hadn’t contacted her after she made multiple attempts to reach them, police said.

The manager then discovered the woman’s body and called 911. When police began canvassing other tenants, one neighbor said that she heard a commotion coming from Jeffrey’s home on Wednesday night but decided not to involve the police, Holloway said.

More Law&Crime coverage: Authorities search for missing toddler after his mother was found dead in ‘very violent’ murder inside home

Officials have not said how the boy died. An autopsy will be performed to determine his cause of death.

The boy’s father, Thomas Mosley, stands accused of two counts of murder in the first degree for allegedly killing his son and the mother of his child, Holloway said.

Thomas Mosley is hospitalized, police added, with various cuts on his arms and hands. He reportedly went to his mother’s house late Wednesday night and checked himself into the hospital.

So far, however, the defendant is allegedly keeping mum with police – and he does not have a lawyer.

“The father is not talking to us,” Holloway said.

Jerry Lambe contributed to this report.

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