A family is in shock and disbelief after their loved one was found dead after an incident involving an alligator in Pinellas County last week.
The emotion comes in waves, but the love for Sabrina Peckham remains.
“Sometimes it’s just like you don’t remember at all that she’s not with us, and then I think that she’s going to walk through the door any second, and then you remember and then all of it comes back,” said Breauna Dorris, Peckham’s daughter.
On Friday, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said deputies responded to an area near 134th Avenue North and 121st Street North in Largo. During their investigation and with the help of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, a 13-foot alligator was humanely killed and removed from the water.
The Sheriff’s Office said deputies also recovered a person’s remains from the water, later identified by law enforcement as Peckham, 41.
According to the medical examiner’s office, the manner and cause of death are still pending.
“Me knowing that she was staying 50 feet from where it happened, I prayed, I hope it’s not her, I hope it’s not her,” said Dorris. “Later that evening, law enforcement arrived at my door and pretty much told me that it was her and she was gone.”
Dorris said her mom struggled with homelessness and lived near where the incident happened. She described her as kind and selfless.
“It didn’t matter that she was homeless,” said Dorris. “She was nice to everybody.”
Support has flooded in from people in the community, with a memorial made up near the site in her honor and people laying flowers there who she never knew.
“I’m sure my mother is just gleaming knowing that even one person cared about her, let alone thousands,” said Dorris.
The family is fundraising for funeral expenses. They’re also planning a candlelight vigil to remember her life at the bridge at 134th Avenue and 121st Street at 6 p.m. on Friday.
“My mother was not cared about by many, but to know that in times like this where we need our little community that people are coming out showing their support, donating, praying, sending kind words,” said Dorris. “It’s all that I could ask for in a time like this, honestly.”