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Police confirm 5-year-old boy eaten by crocodile

Police confirmed that a boy who vanished from an Australian river edge was attacked and eaten by a crocodile.

Remains of 5-year-old Jeremy Doble were found in the stomach of a 14-foot (4.3-meter) male crocodile trapped in the flooded Daintree River - an international attraction for ecotourists - near where the boy had vanished on Feb. 8, a police statement said late yesterday.

Jeremy had been playing with his 7-year-old brother Ryan and their dog behind their family property in a flooded mangrove swamp when he disappeared. Ryan told police that he saw a crocodile immediately afterward but did not see an attack.

A 10-foot (3-meter) female crocodile was trapped last week but later released after a surgical procedure found no evidence that it had been responsible for the attack.

The killer crocodile, whose stomach contents were similarly examined by a non-lethal surgical procedure, will be sent to a crocodile farm or zoo, the Queensland state government said Wednesday in a statement. It will not be released into the wild.

The victim's parents, who run a crocodile-spotting tourism business, have declined media interviews.

The Courier-Mail newspaper reported that the parents asked authorities not to kill the culprit, which was the dominant male in that part of the river.

Crocodiles have been protected by federal law since 1971 and their numbers in Australia's tropical waters have steadily grown. However authorities are allowed to destroy crocodiles that threaten humans.


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