Alligator Kills 69-Year-Old South Carolina Woman as She Walked Her Dog by Hilton Head Island and Is Then Seen Guarding Her Body

Authorities managed to remove the 10-foot male alligator from the area, and eventually, they were able to recover the woman's body.

  • Updated

A 10-foot-long alligator killed a 69-year-old woman while she was walking her dog in Hilton Head, South Carolina on Tuesday morning, in the second fatal gator attack in the county in less than a year. The woman, who was identified as Holly Jenkins, was attacked by the alligator near a lagoon that borders a golf course in the Spanish Wells community where she lived.

The incident occurred around 9:30 am on Tuesday. When authorities reached the scene, they found the woman in an unresponsive state at the edge of the lagoon, and initial responders were unable to reach her as the alligator appeared to emerge from the water and guard her body, police said.

Killed Mercilessly

Alligator kills woman
Authorities reached the scene to find the alligator guarding the woman's body Twitter

Authorities managed to remove the 10-foot male alligator from the area, and eventually, they were able to recover the woman's body.

"Rescue efforts were made and an alligator appeared and was guarding the woman, interrupting emergency efforts," the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office said.

An autopsy has been scheduled for Wednesday to further investigate the incident.

Based on the investigation, authorities have determined that Holly Jenkins was walking her dog at the time of the attack. The exact location where she was pulled into the water remains unclear, the sheriff's office said.

The sheriff's office also confirmed that Jenkins' dog was found and is in good health.

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources took to Twitter to announce that their biologists and officers are responding to the incident and are involved in the investigation.

This incident marks the second fatal alligator attack to occur in the same county within a span of less than a year. The previous incident involved the death of an 88-year-old woman in August 2022.

Hilton Head Island, located in Beaufort County, is an upscale neighborhood and is widely regarded as one of the best places to live in South Carolina.

Alligator attack
A fisherman was attacked by a alligator a few days back in South Carolina Twitter

In recent years, alligator encounters and attacks have seen an increase throughout the United States, particularly in states like Florida and South Carolina.

While South Carolina had previously experienced relatively few alligator attacks, the trend changed in 2022, when the state reported a total of five alligator attacks during the year, two of which resulted in fatalities.

Alligator's Den

According to data from Florida Fish and Wildlife, alligator attacks in Florida have seen an increase over the years. From 1971 through 1986, the average number of alligator attacks per year was approximately six.

Hilton Head alligator warning,
A sign warns about the possibility of alligators at a body of water at Sun City Hilton Head, South Carolina. Twitter

However, from 1987 through 2017, the average number of alligator attacks per year rose to nearly ten.

According to scientists, as Florida's population and development grow, there has been a corresponding increase in alligator attacks. The rise in human activity and expansion into alligator habitats has led to more encounters between humans and alligators, resulting in a higher frequency of attacks.

"As the human population encroaches on the habitat of alligators, attacks and nuisance complaints increase," according to the NIH.

American Alligator
American Alligator (Representational Picture) Pixabay

Over the past two decades, South Carolina has experienced a significant increase in its human population, with a growth rate of nearly 30 percent.

In August 2022, an 88-year-old woman lost her life to an alligator attack after slipping into a pond while gardening in a senior community located in close proximity to Bluffton.

During that incident, responders arrived at the scene and found the alligator seemingly guarding the woman's body. It took two hours for the responders to recover the woman's body.

In May 2020, a 58-year-old woman was fatally attacked by an alligator in a gated community while she was there to provide nail services for a homeowner.

The woman was trying to touch the alligator when it suddenly seized her and dragged her into a nearby pond.

In 2016, a 90-year-old woman left a nursing home in Charleston and was fatally attacked by an alligator. Additionally, in August 2018, a 45-year-old woman who was walking her dog on Hilton Head Island was also attacked and killed by an alligator.

An alligator seen attacking a fisherman a few days back in South Carolina Twitter