Grand Prairie

Missing Cobra's Owner Arrested, Snake Still Missing

NBC 5 News

Six months after Grand Prairie officials warned residents to be on the lookout for a missing cobra, police announced the arrest of the snake's owner.

The cobra’s owner, Lawrence Matl, was arrested Friday according to the Grand Prairie Police Department.

Matl, 23, was arrested on a warrant for violating Parks and Wildlife Code 43.853, which says that “a person may not intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence release or allow the release from captivity” of a venomous nonindigenous snake.

Grand Prairie Police Dept.
Lawrence Matl, 23.

Matl reported the West African Banded Cobra missing from his home in the 1800 block of Cherry Street on Aug. 3, 2021. He told Animal Services officers he noticed the snake was missing from its enclosure.

Matl and a venomous snake apprehension professional actively searched for the snake inside and outside of the residence through the night with no success.

There have been no sightings of the snake since. Residents have been asked to call 911 if they see any type of reptile similar to the cobra.

Grand Prairie Police said the cobra's owner did have a valid state-issued license to own the cobra.

“I did make a mistake and I feel very sorry for the community,” Matl told NBC 5, at the time he asked not to be identified.

Matl is currently being held at the Grand Prairie Detention Center with a bond of $10,000.00.

As of the arrest, the missing cobra has not been located.

Matl told NBC 5 in August he believed the snake likely slithered into his walls or attic and died in the heat.

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