Article Courtesy of The Sun
By Wayne K. Roustan
Published June 12, 2018
Alligator attack victim Shizuka Matsuki lived in a waterfront community where a
warning about a trespassing gator went out to homeowners two days before she was
killed while walking her dogs in a Davie park.
It’s unclear whether the 47-year-old
woman, whose body was recovered Friday night, ever got the
email alert from the Isla del Sol Homeowners Association in
Plantation that urged residents to “exercise caution with
our families and pets, mindful that alligators, snakes, and
other wildlife may be in the area.”
The notice said the 6-foot gator, which was spotted by
someone’s front door, was trapped, but to still be careful.
What’s clear is that Matsuki went to Silver Lakes Rotary
Nature Park and was attacked by the lake there, according to
Davie police and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission. Details about the tragedy were not yet known,
and apparently no one witnessed the attack.
“The FWC will be conducting a thorough
investigation into this incident,” commission spokesman
Robert Klepper wrote in a statement Saturday morning.
Trappers caught a 12-foot-6-inch alligator Friday afternoon
and found the victim’s arm inside its stomach, officials
said. A tattoo confirmed the arm as Matsuki’s.
“Search teams located the body of Shizuka Matsuki at approximately 9:49
p.m., June 8, 2018 at the Silver Lakes Rotary Nature Park lake in Davie,”
The woman had been to the park before, according to Peter Limia, whose
family lives across the street from Matsuki and her husband, Yukio.
“It’s not uncommon for her to go there,” said Limia, adding Matsuki and her
spouse also regularly walked her three dogs within the gated Isla del Sol
“It’s such a sad story, I can’t even process it,” Limia told the South
Florida Sun Sentinel. “Something like this is so freakish.”
Another neighbor, Nate Fischer, told the Miami Herald that Matsuki could
have been spooked by reports of nearby gator sightings.
“She probably thought that Lake was safer alternative, after so many gators
have been showing up around here lately,” Fischer wrote in a Facebook post
Friday. “So sad.”
Efforts to reach Yukio Matsuki on Saturday were unsuccessful. The Fish and
Wildlife Conservation Commission and Davie police also could not be reached
Saturday evening despite attempts by phone.
On Friday, police said they were called by a passerby who noticed Shizuka
Matsuki with two dogs. A short while later only saw the dogs barking at the
water’s edge. One of the dogs was bitten by the gator; both dogs were taken
to Broward County Animal and Care and Adoption.
Some neighbors have complained about the alligators at the park in the 5600
block of Southwest 52nd Street.
Davie resident Trina Gonzalez recalled visiting the park a year ago and
seeing a large gator swim up to the bank after her son threw bread in the
water to feed the fish.
“That gator was there in a heartbeat,” she said. “We never went back again.”
Park lore, according to Gonzalez, was that the large gator was treated by
other visitors as a mascot, of sort. They sabotaged traps set to catch it,
Three trappers had been hired in the past 18 to 24 months to try to capture
the gator, Davie’s assistant parks director said. He hadn’t heard of any
sabotaged traps or interference in capturing the alligator.
The gator eluded the traps and there hadn’t been a sighting in the last
month, said Jeff Polhman, the assistant director.