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Charleston County coroner IDs woman who died on Kiawah in encounter with an alligator

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An adult American Alligator basks in the sun at the SCDNR's Bear Island WMA. David Lucas/SCDNR

The woman who was killed Friday in an encounter with an alligator on Kiawah Island has been identified.

Charleston County Coroner Rae Wooten said Sunday that Cynthia Covert, 58, of Johns Island was the woman who "died tragically" in the incident.

"The incident remains under investigation at this time," Wooten said. "An autopsy is scheduled to be completed on Monday, after which more information will be available."

Covert was an animal lover, often promoting fundraisers for rescue organizations, and sharing stories about people and their pets on social media. She worked as a stylist at Prime Cuts Salon on Seabrook Island, according to her Facebook page.

She's the third person to die from an alligator encounter in the history of the state, according to S.C. Department of Natural Resources records. 

Deputies were called shortly before 5 p.m. Friday to a pond near Salt Cedar Lane. A deputy killed and retrieved the alligator, the Sheriff's Office said. The Coroner's Office and DNR also responded.

Deaths attributed to alligators have been relatively rare in South Carolina, according to records.

The death of a 90-year-old woman in July 2016 in a pond outside a West Ashley extended care facility was the first alligator-related fatality in the state, according to DNR. In August 2018, South Carolina saw its second fatal alligator attack in two years, when a 45-year-old woman was killed at a resort community on Hilton Head Island.

Still, authorities stressed fatal attacks are rare.

There had been 20 recorded alligator incidents in the Palmetto State since 1976, DNR said at the time of the 2018 attack. In that time, just the 2016 and 2018 attacks were fatal.

Follow Adam Benson on Twitter @AdamNewshound12.

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