Alligator sighting leads to charges against Eastern Kentucky man

Photo Courtesy: Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife
Photo Courtesy: Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife(KDFW News Release)
Published: Jul. 6, 2022 at 10:14 AM CDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WYMT) - A sighting of one animal you normally wouldn’t expect to see in Eastern Kentucky has one Harlan County man in hot water with state officials.

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife started an investigation following reports of an alligator in a creek near the community of Big Laurel back in June.

When officers with the department went looking for it in the Greasy Creek area just off KY 2008, they managed to find the four-and-a-half-foot creature close to where they were told it was going to be.

After they left to go get equipment to capture the gator, they came back and found blood on a rock next to the creek and a blood trail leading up to the highway.

The investigation led officers to the home of a relative of the suspect, later identified as Cameron Cornett, 23, of Big Laurel. There, they found blood in the bed of a pickup truck.

That relative told the officers the suspect brought the alligator back to Kentucky from Florida and kept the animal in a cage in his front yard before it escaped two to three weeks prior to the report to officials.

The gator’s whereabouts were not known until video of it in the creek surfaced on social media. The relative also told the DFW officers that Cornett was concerned about the attention the animal is getting and told some folks to kill it.

Cornett is charged with illegally transporting and possessing an inherently dangerous exotic animal, not reporting its escape to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources and not having a permit or documentation for other exotic animals in his possession.

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