Last week, Discovery News reported on a tiger shark found with human remains in its stomach. Now authorities have identified the victim as being Judson Newton, a 43-year-old who vanished late last month off of Jaws Beach in the Bahamas.
Jaws Beach was one of the sites used in the making of the film "Jaws: The Revenge,"
the third sequel to Steven Spielberg's original 1975 blockbuster.
According to a story by the Associated Press and other reports, authorities used fingerprints to identify Newton, who was known in the area by his nickname: "Scabbo." Assistant Police Commissioner Hulan Hanna said DNA tests were ongoing.
At present, it remains unclear as to whether the victim was eaten alive or if the shark scavenged on Newton's already-dead body. Experts such as Marie Levine of New Jersey's Shark Research Institute suggest that the latter probably happened, since she said, ""With tiger sharks, it's unusual for them to attack someone when alive. They don't tend to go after something that's alive and can fight back."
(A juvenile tiger shark from the region. The captured shark was likely a fully grown adult of this species. Credit: Albert Kok)
On the other hand, a childhood friend of Newton's, 37-year-old Samuel Woodside, told The Associated Press that it was unlikely the sailor and part-time chef drowned, as he was "always a strong swimmer."
On August 29, Newton had gone on a boating trip with friends off of Jaws Beach, which is on New Providence, the most populated island in the Bahamas. They experienced engine trouble. Rescuers who responded to a call for help found three men aboard who said that Newton and friend Franklin Roosevelt Brown, 62, jumped into the water to try to pull the boat to shore. Shortly after that attempt, the two men disappeared.
Officials launched a search for their bodies, but neither was found.
On September 5, investment banker Humphrey Simmons, who was out deep-sea fishing with two friends, caught a tiger shark. When they hauled the shark on board their vessel, located 38 miles south of New Providence Island, they couldn't believe what they saw, and smelled.
"We were going to cut the hook out of his mouth and let him go when he regurgitated a human foot - intact from the knee down," Simmons said, according to The Sun
in London. "There was so much stink coming from the shark's belly and the belly was so huge that we thought that there might be more bodies inside."
This gruesome discovery came on the heels of the death of an Australian surfer. Nicholas Edwards was attacked by a shark and subsequently perished due to blood loss. A Danish student, also recently attacked by a shark while on a whale watching trip in Tonga, luckily was rescued and is now recovering from surgery to repair his shark-bitten foot.