• The dead body of a 29-year-old woman was recovered in a Florida pond last week
  • The body appeared to have injuries consistent with alligator attacks, police said
  • The woman's cause of death is yet to be determined, and authorities are still investigating the case

The family of a 29-year-old woman whose dead body was pulled out of a Hillsborough County, Florida, retention pond on the Fourth of July has claimed that her death was caused by an alligator attack.

Police had recovered the body of the woman, identified by Fox 13 as Shayla Silva, just before 9 p.m. Sunday from a Lynx Paw Trail retention pond in Valrico. Her family claimed she had been a victim of a fatal alligator attack, WESH reported.

Authorities also said Silva's body appeared to have "injuries consistent with an alligator attack," a report by WINK said, citing the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

"I can tell you that alligators are known to frequent the retention pond where the decedent was located per our Underwater Recovery Team," a spokesperson for the sheriff's office was quoted as saying by WESH.

"You’re at breeding season and basically the females are laying eggs and nesting. It could definitely be a bad situation for someone in the water," said Chad Matthews, a trapper who worked near the retention pond.

Silva had mental health struggles, and her depression would cause her to be naturally drawn to water, her family told Fox 13. Additionally, they said Silva swam on multiple occasions in the pond, which was across the street from her home.

"We really tried to keep our eyes on what she was doing. But yes, when she would get away from us, she would be walking down and go to the pond," Silva's stepmother, Mary Simpson, was quoted as saying.

"This is a very hard, heartbreaking tragedy and I really don't want to see nobody else go through this," she added.

Trappers have now set up traps in the pond in the hopes of catching the alligator that could be responsible for Silva's death.

Police are investigating the incident with the help of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, WFLA reported.

Silva's cause of death is yet to be determined, pending the release of the findings from the medical examiner's office.

Representation. Shayla Silva, 29, was found dead in a retention pond and appeared to have suffered injuries consistent with alligator attacks. Pixabay