CHOMP: The Bizarre Tale of How A Bonehead Criminal Ended Up in A Gator’s Belly
Desperate people do desperate things and a Melbourne, Florida man may have proved the truth of that old saying when he chose the wrong place to hide from law enforcement officials.
Matthew Riggins, 22, disappeared after telling his girlfriend that he and a friend were going burglarize properties in the Barefoot Bay Lake area in Brevard County, Florida, before “snowbirds” returned to their homes for the winter months.
Police received calls from the area reporting two men dressed in black walking around houses in a suspicious manner. When the men were approached by the officers, they fled into the neighboring area. Riggins was reported missing later that same day.
According to official reports, police searched the area and said they heard “yelling,” but were unable to locate the source of the sound.
Riggins body was found in the lake ten days later, and sheriff’s dive team made a grisly discovery when an 11-foot alligator became aggressive during the search.
“We had trappers euthanize the gator and when we opened it up, there were some remains inside that were consistent with injuries found on the body."
Riggins had apparently died by drowning, but not before he had suffered alligator bites to his legs and body. The county coroner was able to determine that Riggins was dragged below the surface by the alligator.
Alligators are not uncommon sights in Florida and most native Floridians know to expect them in any kind of water, even water traps on golf courses.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, alligators have inhabited Florida's marshes, swamps, rivers and lakes for many centuries and are found in all 67 of the state’s counties
While “gators” prefer to eat small animals they can kill and consume in a single bite, they are capable of lunging at larger prey, such as humans, which they drag into the water to drown.
Riggins’s unnamed accomplice is in custody, but has not cooperated with the police in the investigation.