A HEARTBROKEN dog owner who killed himself just hours after his service dog was eaten by an alligator is the forth person in his family to tragically die.
Andrew Epp, 36, was found dead the day after his chocolate Labrador, Java, was killed at Dog Leg Park in Palmetto, Florida.
GoFundMe Andrew Epp, pictured, tragically died the day after his beloved service dog was killed
Twitter / Manfred Rosenberg Java, pictured, was killed by an alligator in Florida
The tragedy is the latest to hit the distraught family after three other close relatives died over the years, a GoFundMe page reveals.
Just five months ago, Andrew’s dad died after long battle with physical and mental health. His death came after Andrew’s brother Paul took his own life in March 2005.
And in another brutal blow to the family, Andrew’s younger sister Lauren died of a brain tumour in 1980 aged just five.
The GoFundMe page has raised almost £6,000 for Andrew’s devastated family.
‘COULDN’T DEAL WITH DOG’S DEATH’
A tribute describes him as a “gentle, beautiful soul”, adding: “He loved the outdoors, fishing, camping, horticulture and animals.”
Andrew was discovered this month just hours in what is believed to have been a suspected suicide just hours after beloved Java died.
According to his devastated friends and family, “he couldn’t deal” with the loss of his dog after he saw it covered in blood.
Local reports suggest the gruesome attack took place on May 17 after the dog managed to get loose.
Moments later, witnesses saw Java slumped over a man’s shoulders and covered in blood.
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Neighbour Sharil Dowling added: “Most people, if they knew they were that close to marsh and gators, they wouldn’t walk back there.
“I can’t imagine the anguish that guy was in.”
The park is close to wetlands and one local said he is aware of three others dogs that have been eaten by alligators.
Reports suggest that the gator had not yet been captured.
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