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A Florida toddler found in an alligator’s mouth died of drowning, police say

<i>St. Petersburg Police</i><br/>The toddler's father
St. Petersburg Police
St. Petersburg Police
The toddler's father

By Sara Smart and Amy Simonson, CNN

The 2-year-old boy found last month in an alligator’s mouth in a St. Petersburg, Florida, lake died of drowning, police say.

Taylen Mosley was reported missing on March 30 after his mother, Pashun Jeffery, 20, was found dead in her apartment with multiple stab wounds. The boy was put in the lake by his father, who is charged in both deaths, according to a St. Petersburg police affidavit.

Taylen was found March 31 in the mouth of an alligator in Lake Maggiore.

The Pinellas County medical examiner confirmed Monday that the cause of death was drowning, St. Petersburg police told CNN.

The toddler’s father, Thomas Mosley, 21, is facing two counts of first-degree murder. He is booked in the Pinellas County Jail, according to county records.

A spokesperson for the public defender said the office has not received the full autopsy report but is evaluating all information provided in the case.

Earlier this month, a spokesperson for Sixth Judicial Circuit Public Defender Sara Mollo said: “Due to the extremely serious allegations surrounding these tragic losses, our investigation is currently focused on gathering information about the facts and circumstances of the case, as well as our client’s mental state.”

Mosley allegedly “did throw or place” Taylen into a lake, inflicting “mortal wounds” that caused the child’s death, according to the affidavit.

The night before Jeffery was found, Mosley allegedly went to his mother’s house with “severe lacerations to both of his hands and arms consistent with injuries caused by slippage during a knife attack” and was admitted to a hospital, according to the affidavit.

Jeffery’s family went to check on her and allegedly saw blood on the sidewalk from her apartment, the affidavit said. They found Jeffery inside with “apparent cuts and stabs in excess of 100 wounds,” according to the affidavit.

“A bloody fingerprint on a cleaning bottle which had been intentionally placed under a bed in the crime scene was identified to (Mosley),” the affidavit said. “A bloody shoe print with a ‘Gucci’ emblem was located on the bathroom floor where the victim was found,” the affidavit continues.

Taylen was not at the crime scene and authorities launched a search for the boy.

The following day, an alligator was spotted in Dell Holmes Park just miles away from where Jeffery was found dead, with an object in its mouth, police said. Officers fired a single round at the reptile and it dropped the object.

Officers were able to retrieve what they discovered to be Taylen’s body, which was intact, according to police. The alligator was euthanized, the affidavit added.

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