“So we know that we are now working on recovering the body of the child at this point,” said Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings at a news conference in Orlando Wednesday morning.
Sheriff Jerry Demings says as hard as that announcement was to make, his team still had a job to do. They had made a promise to Matt and Melissa Graves.
“We told them that we would continue to look for the child until his remains were found,” said Sheriff Demings.
Crews worked tirelessly from the air, land and water to find the boy’s body. Two-year-old Lane’s body was located more than 15 hours after an alligator snatched him from the water’s edge.
“Delivering the sad news to the family that their child had been found is one of the hardest things I had ever had to do,” said Sheriff Demings.
Throughout the search, Sheriff Demings’ emotional investment was evident. Those close to him say the man the world watched on TV, is the man he truly is.
“He’s a dad, he’s a grandfather and anyone who knows him knows he tries to play it flat and straight, but you know he is a very emotional guy,” said Orange County Sheriff’s Office PIO Jeff Williamson.
Those at home also noticed Demings’ compassion and strength. A good friend of the Graves family took to social media to share an emotion filled open letter she wrote to Jerry Demings and his department.
“After we read it, well I mean we were up there crying. Everybody is exhausted and everyone is pretty much in tears and bawling after reading it,” said Williamson.
In the letter Amy Alvano graciously thanked Demings for keeping his promise to the family, comforting them in their time of need and making it clear to the public that Matt and Melissa were in no way responsible for their son’s death.
Orange County Public Information Officer Jeff Williamson says his department was moved by Alvano’s message and has an idea of how Sheriff Demings will react when he finally gets a chance to read Alvano’s letter.
“His heart is overflowing right now and I’m sure he’d love the letter as well. I will make sure to hand deliver this letter to the Sheriff,” said Williamson.