Police Say 11-Foot-Long Alligator Killed Florida Man Hiding in Lake

December 8, 2015 Updated: December 8, 2015

Authorities say a man who may have hidden as officers investigated reports of two suspicious men in a Florida community targeted by recent burglaries was killed by an 11-foot alligator.

“He hid in the wrong place,” said Laura Farris, a Barefoot Bay resident, told Bay News 9.

Brevard County Sheriff’s Maj. Tod Goodyear says 22-year-old Matthew Riggins told his girlfriend he would be in Barefoot Bay to commit burglaries with another suspect.

“He was going to do burglaries in the Barefoot Bay area with another individual,” he told the station.

 Authorities received calls Nov. 13 about two suspicious men in black walking behind homes and investigated. Riggins was reported missing the next day.

“Do you still hear them hollering, or did they hunker down?” police officers could be heard saying on scanner radio.

 Goodyear said sheriff’s divers recovered Riggins’ body 10 days later in a nearby lake and the injuries were consistent with an alligator attack. Authorities said Riggins had drowned and the alligator, which behaved aggressively toward divers, was trapped and euthanized.

“When the body was found, it had injuries that were consistent with an alligator attack,” Goodyear told Florida Today. “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.”


“He probably went into the lake to hide from the officers and the dog, and came across that gator,” Goodyear told Bay News 9. “To hide somewhere to try and get away, and then meeting up with an animal like that, no, I’ve never had that happen before.”

Police searching the area reported hearing “yelling,” but they could not determine the source, Goodyear added.


According to Florida Today, a second person was taken into custody.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.