Investigation Determines Man Died From Alligator Attack

The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office has completed the investigation into the death of Matthew Riggins of Palm Bay, whose body was discovered in a Barefoot Bay lake on November 23, 2015. The investigative findings have determined that Riggins drowned as a result of an alligator attack.

The investigation uncovered the following sequence of events led up to the death of Riggins. During the late evening/early morning hours of November 12-13, 2015, Riggins advised his girlfriend that he was going to Barefoot Bay to commit burglaries with another male subject. At approximately 0200 hours on November 13, 2015, deputies responded to the area of Tequesta Drive in Barefoot Bay after a resident called advising that two males, dressed in black, were walking behind houses in the area. During a search of the area, two males were observed on Royal Palm Blvd. Upon seeing the deputies the male subjects fled on foot in an attempt to avoid apprehension. Deputies, assisted by Sheriff’s Office K-9’s and Aviation Unit searched the area without success in locating the burglary suspects. It was later learned that Riggins had contacted his girlfriend during the timeframe of the search, advising that they were being chased by deputies. Riggins was reported as a missing person to the Palm Bay Police Department later that day when he did not return home.

On November 23, 2015, the body of Riggins was observed in a lake just north of Ocean Avenue Way. During the recovery of the body, Sheriff’s Dive Team members encountered a large alligator aggressively approaching the area where the body was located. Due to trauma observed on the body, a FWC trapper was called and an alligator approximately 11-foot in length was trapped and euthanized. A forensic examination of the alligator located remains consistent with the injuries to Riggins inside the alligator’s stomach.

Agents have identified the male who was in the company of Riggins that night, however he has refused to cooperate with law enforcement in reference to this investigation.

Anyone with information about this Investigation is asked to please call Agent Marlon Buggs of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Homicide Unit at or CRIMELINE at 1-800-423-TIPS (8477). All calls to CRIMELINE are confidential and callers can remain anonymous and are eligible for a reward.

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