BAREFOOT BAY, Fla.— A 22-year-old burglary suspect trying to evade authorities was killed by an 11-foot alligator last month, the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office said.
Deputies said Matthew Riggins drowned as a result of the gator attack. He was missing his lower extremities and part of an arm, according to deputies.
Riggins and another man were in Barefoot Bay to commit house burglaries in the late evening hours of Nov. 12 and early morning hours of Nov. 13. A resident called deputies around 2 a.m. to say the two men, dressed in black, were walking behind houses near Tequesta Drive.
Riggins and the other man were spotted on Royal Palm Boulevard, but they fled.
A K-9 and helicopter search were unsuccessful.
According to deputies, Riggins called his girlfriend to say he was being chased by authorities.
Riggins was reported missing later on Nov. 13 after he didn’t come home.
His body was found in a Barefoot Bay lake just north of Ocean Avenue Way on Nov. 23.
While sheriff dive team members were recovering Riggins’ body, they encountered a large gator “aggressively approaching” them.
The gator was trapped by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and euthanized.
“A forensic examination of the alligator located remains consistent with the injuries to Riggins inside the alligator’s stomach,” deputies said.
The other man who was with Riggins has been identified, but is not cooperating with the investigation. Deputies didn’t say if he was charged.
This is the second death caused by an alligator this year. James Okkerse, 61, was killed in October after he was attacked by a 12-foot gator while swimming in Blue Spring State Park.