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Florida man killed by alligator while hiding from police

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Posted at 8:09 AM, Dec 08, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-08 12:33:37-05

Brevard County, Fla. (WKMG) – A 22-year-old Florida man was killed by an 11-foot alligator while hiding from police during a burglary investigation.

Deputies with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office were called to the Barefoot Bay neighborhood on November 13th after residents reported seeing two men dressed in black walking behind houses.

One of those men was 22-year-old Matthew Riggins. His girlfriend told investigators that Riggins had told her he was going to be in the area breaking into homes.

When deputies arrived, the men ran. The deputies reported hearing men yelling but couldn’t find them and called off the search.

Matthew Riggins (Brevard County Sheriff's Office)

Matthew Riggins (Brevard County Sheriff’s Office)

Riggins’ girlfriend says he called her and said they were being chased and were laying low.

On November 23rd, the body of Matthew Riggins was found in Barefoot Bay lake. His body had suffered trauma consistent with an alligator attack.

“He probably went into the lake to hide from the officers and the dog, and at some point he came across that gator,” said Major Tom Goodyear with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office.

The BCSO Dive Team encountered an 11-foot alligator while recovering Riggins’ body and the animal was euthanized by a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission trapper. Inside the alligator’s stomach, the Medical Examiner found proof of how Riggins was killed.

“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,” said Major Goodyear.

Authorities say the second man who ran from them has been caught but that he hasn’t been cooperating. He has yet to be charged.