Authorities have released the official cause of death of Cassandra Cline, who died in an alligator attack in Hilton Head.
The Beaufort County Coroner has ruled the primary cause of death as drowning; secondary as being attacked by the alligator.
According to an incident report from the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO), Cline suffered apparent bite injuries and a broken arm. BCSO says she was found dead in a lagoon upon arrival.
Cline was walking her dog in Sea Pines Plantation on Monday morning when the attack occurred.
Authorities believe her dog got too close to the lagoon and the alligator tried to attack it. In an attempt to save her dog, Cline became the alligator’s victim.
BCSO spoke with a witness who said he heard someone screaming and saw a woman, later identified as Cline, standing knee-deep in the water.
The witness said a dog was with her and it ran away to a house nearby. He added that he saw Cline being pulled underwater when he ran to call 911.
Cline, 45, was a former kindergarten teacher who lived and taught in New York for 16 years. Friends and family say she was “the sweetest, kindest, most wonderful person.”