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Charles County man found dead in home with 100+ snakes died from 'envenomation,' officials says

A 49-year-old man was found dead in his Pomfret home, with 124 snakes — both venomous and nonvenomous. Venomous snakes are illegal to own as pets in Maryland.

CHARLES COUNTY, Md. — Editor's Note: The video above originally aired in January 2021, when news broke about the Charles County man's death.

The Medical Examiner's Office in Baltimore confirmed that a man who was found dead in his house in January died of "snake envenomation."

The news was released from the Charles County Sheriff's Department Wednesday, when the department identified the man as David Riston. He was 49 when he died. 

Riston was found dead at his home located in the 5500 block of Raphael Drive in Pomfret on Jan. 19. Police said he was surrounded by 124 venomous and nonvenomous snakes.

A neighbor had called 911 and told authorities that he hadn't seen Riston in more than a day. First responders forced entry through Riston's house and that's when they found him unconscious on the floor with dozens of snakes in the house located in tanks and on racks. 

Jennifer Harris, a spokesperson for Charles County Animal Control told WUSA9 on Jan. 20 that it was the largest collection of snakes Ed Tucker, the chief of Charles County Animal Control, had ever encountered in his more than 30 years of experience. 

Animal control called for assistance from reptile experts in Virginia and North Carolina as its team was bagging the snakes. The largest snake found in the house was a 14-foot Burmese python.

Venomous snakes are illegal to own in the state of Maryland.

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