Corpus Felis: Police Discover Eight-Foot Alligator Hidden In Home With Dead Cats

la-alligator-secret-ktlaThere is an interesting case developing in California over an alleged serial killer that has prowled around a neighborhood for years. The alleged culprit is Jaxson, a female eight-foot alligator believed to be 40 years old, that was kept illegally by a Van Nuys family without a permit. The “Anatomy of a Murder” aspect of the case comes in with the findings of the police in the hidden box of Jaxson — two dead cats. The police are asking neighbors to report other missing cats. I am sure it was unintentional but one article reported the suspicion about missing cats before adding “[t]he house is a family residence with multiple occupants, but no children were found there.” I do not think Jaxson is to blame.

The city attorney is considering prosecution of Laura Mattson, who admitted to keeping the animal. Notably, after accounts of a roaming alligator, authorities visited the home but did not find the gator. That raises the possibility of a charge of lying to inspectors and hiding the animal.

Officials are asking anyone whose small pet may have disappeared over the past 40 years to contact the city’s animal services department at (213) 482-7455. That is what struck me as particularly interesting. Exactly how would evidence be used that Mrs. Smith lost a cat 40 years ago. Can that be attributed to Jaxson? The two dead cats in his box would appear pretty good evidence of felinicide like a gator version of John Wayne Gacy. (Though the defense could claim a frame up job by clever cats in the neighborhood). I can understand the allegation of a cat diet because on the corpus delicti found at the scene, but the list of “disappeared” cats would seem a tad circumstantial.

Another interesting question is possible animal abuse charges. Mattson eluded to such a charge when she insisted that she had several neutered feral cats at her home but would never feed them to the alligator. In another story, she showed pictures of kittens playing with Jaxson. The question is what Jaxson ate.

Mattson says that she was trying to find a home for Jaxson and had called a zoo.

Officers also found a large tortoise in the home.

It would seem likely that charges will follow, particularly due to the earlier visit to the home and the account of the police that the box was hard to find.

17 thoughts on “Corpus Felis: Police Discover Eight-Foot Alligator Hidden In Home With Dead Cats”

  1. Where in van nuys. I used to live there with roommates and our pets were always disappearing.

  2. There is a team in Florida called the Gators. People control them and the poor gators living in the wild have no relationship to these human Gators. Its sad.

  3. BarkinDog: Dude, this is Van Nuys, California. There are no swamps or native gators.

  4. I agree with Dust Bunny Queen. I never ate alligator. Over in India we ate some monkey brains at the “monkey table”. Gross. I wont eat clams or oysters. A dog is not a pet- he/she is a Pal.

  5. @ Barking

    Generally, I consider animals that want to kill me and are large enough to eat me not good pet material.

    We are surrounded by predators where I live. I leave them alone if they leave me and my animals alone. We have a truce. No point in killing some animal for doing what is natural. Killing and eating. I just “persuade” them to do it someplace else. Some animals are intelligent enough to understand the basic rules and avoid people. Other animals, like alligators are not in the smart category.

    Should the poor gator be snuffed?. I don’t think so. She isn’t harming anything, other than probably eating someone’s pet Fluffy the cat, but that isn’t her idea anyway. She would be just as happy with some raw chickens from the A&P. She is really living a terrible life being cooped up and not able to swim or be around others of her kind. Very sad and cruel. Maybe they should just keep it at the zoo with the other alligators and similar fauna.

    People should not be keeping dangerous animals that they cannot control in areas where there are children, pets and others that could be harmed. It isn’t the animal’s fault. I blame the dopy people who get some sort of a power trip over having a dangerous animal…..oooooh look at me I have a tiger in my basement. Wow….I’m so cool I own a polar bear.

    These are the same people who create dangerous animals out of ordinary pets. People who take a Pit Bull and torment it until it is insane and vicious, should be beaten and never allowed to be near another animal. My epeen is huge!!!

    Although it was sort of facetious….I wasn’t joking. Alligator meat is very delicious. 🙂

  6. If an alligator killed a cat he would eat the cat. The cat would not be in the hat or the box. But the central question here is the alligator’s right to live. Who says this is a pet? I live next to a swamp and its full of alligators. I don’t harm the alligators or feed them but who is to say that they are my pets for Chris sake? Yeah the alligators share the yard. I don’t sunbath out there. I am a dog. Be careful out there. Jeso.

  7. @ Paul

    Possibly since the gator was raised as a pet and not for food. Alligators are not really smart or very cuddly. They don’t obey you and can’t learn tricks. They are really useless as pets.

    PETA has problems with everything though. So I guess I wouldn’t care.

  8. Found in a wooden crate WITH a lid. Sure. The cats just jumped right in. Uh huh.

    The people have likely been trapping feral cats and neighborhood pets and tossing them into the crate with the bit fat alligator….probably alive. If they do find out this is the case, as a pet owner and cat owner, I would like to see these people punished.

    BTW: Alligator meat is really quite delicious, somewhat like Sturgeon meat…… and I imagine that Jaxson, having an easy life with not much exercise and grown fat on a diet of kitties would be rather tasty. This could be a good solution.

  9. Well, Laura, it looks like you get to say, “See you later, Ali Gator!” one way or another now. I wonder if people would be as upset if she had fed her alligator lunchmeat and all the authorities had found was a “crock full of baloney” instead of dead cats?

  10. surimike is right – assuming there is gator scat around the home and surrounding area (which would prove it had gotten out), you just do a forensic analysis. OK, not you, but some other lucky person.

  11. Jaxson is looking pretty healthy – I don’t think you are going to get an abuse conviction on that evidence.

    And the cats aren’t in any condition to testify, are they?

  12. I watched the video and noticed an ADT security sign in front of the house. Jaxson probably scared off more home burglars than that ADT security system.
    Any house burglars missing? Take a bite out of crime.

  13. “Officials are asking anyone whose small pet may have disappeared over the past 40 years to contact the city’s animal services department”
    What a croc !

    Sounds like these investigators need a lesson in evidence admissibility.

  14. They could call the guy who tracked down the spork. This is his kind of case.

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