EVERGLADES CITY, Fla - Pictures taken by an Indiana tourist are released to WINK News following a six week investigation into an Everglades City airboat captain.
In June, Wally Weatherholt, an airboat captain at Captain Doug's Airboat Tours lost his hand when an alligator bit it off.
The State Attorney's Office charged Weatherholt over the weekend with feeding an alligator. The say the photos snapped by Indiana tourist Brenda Lee served as overwhelming evidence that Weatherholt committed a crime when he fed the nine foot alligator.
"It's something that's wrong and if you break the law you should be punished," says Lee. "We do hope Wally is going to be okay. I hate to hear of possible jail time, however, things could have been a lot worse for all of us."
Lee says it wasn't until she got back to the dock that she realized her camera captured the necessary evidence deputies needed to arrest Wally Weatherholt for feeding an alligator.
Lee says, "the officer from the Sheriff's Office asked me if I caught it on camera. He took my camera and saw exactly the one shot where his hand is in the gators mouth. He said that's a fish tail hanging out there. He asked, was he (Captain Wally) feeding an alligator? I said, obviously yes he was."
Lee recalls the most terrifying part of the entire ordeal was when another airboat captain came to get Wally and left her and her two sons out on the water alone.
"My one son didn't even want to look. He just buried his face and didn't want to look and he was crying and telling me, mom get me out of here."
Lee tells WINK News, three days after the ordeal, she received a call from the owner of Captain Doug's. They offered to refund her family's tickets, but she says it was upsetting the owner never asked how her boys were doing. "It just upset me a little bit. My children's first trip to Florida and this has to happen."
The owner of Captain Doug's says news rules have been put in place since the Captain Wally lost his hand. Anyone caught feeding an alligator will be suspended without pay for three days.
Weatherholt is out of jail on bond. He faces a $500 fine and jail time.