A bizarre cause of death by a Maryland man has shocked responders at the crime scene.

According the first responders who were alerted by his neighbor, entered the house, and pronounced the 49-year-old man dead — and they were greeted by a rather unusual collection.

The man was found dead in his home surrounded by over 100 venomous and nonvenomous snakes earlier this year.

The cause of death for the 49-year-old man remains a mystery, officials said in a news release. But later on, the Maryland medical examiner determined that the man had, indeed, died of accidental “snake envenomation.”

His name has not been released by authorities, but multiple media outlets identified the man as David Riston.

Among the 124 snakes found in the home was a 14-foot Burmese python. Pythons, rattlesnakes, cobras, black mambas, and more were also found— and not all of them were legal.

Investigators say the discovery was made around 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 19, in the unincorporated Pomfret community, about 30 miles south of Washington, D.C.

County spokeswoman Jennifer Harris said in a statement, according to WRC-TV:

“Our chief animal control officer said in his more than 30 years of experience, he had not encountered this kind of thing before.” 

Harris added:

“They were all very properly secured. They were racked. He did not keep a lot of furniture inside the home, so there was no place if a snake, for example, were to escape where it could hide or harm anybody.”

No snakes were found loose, so what had caused the man’s death?

The sheriff’s office posted on Facebook at the time:

“Charles County Sheriff’s detectives are conducting an investigation into the death of the man.”

“There were no obvious signs of foul play and the decedent was transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore for an autopsy.”

Western Journal added:

Charles County Animal Control rounded up the harmless snakes but left the more dangerous specimens to the experts.

The man’s mother approved the removal of the snakes — perhaps she did not share her son’s fascination with reptiles — and the snakes were taken to two new homes.

All the harmless snakes went to a licensed handler in Virginia and the venomous ones to a licensed handler in North Carolina.

Sources: TheWesternJournal, WRC-TV

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.