‘Naked and Afraid’ Contestant Melanie Rauscher’s Cause of Death Revealed

by Samantha Whidden

A little over a month after Naked and Afraid contestant Melanie Rauscher was found dead while dog sitting in Prescott, Arizona, authorities are now revealing the 35-year-old’s cause of death.

As previously reported, Rauscher appeared on Naked and Afraid in 2013 and the spinoff show XL in 2015. She was found in a Prescott, Arizona home in mid-July where she was dog sitting. The homeowners returned from vacation to find Rauscher dead in the guest room. It was revealed that several compressed air cans were found near her body. However, it was unclear if Rauscher actually inhaled any of the cans’ contents. 

According to TMZ, the Naked and Afraid star’s autopsy report from the Yavapai Country Medical Examiner revealed that she actually did die from sucking in a lethal amount of compressed air. The report also indicated that Rauscher inhaled the toxic propellant, which left her unresponsive. Her official cause of death has been listed as “difluoroethane toxicity.” 

The media outlet also states that this kind of toxicity is commonly known as huffing as a way to quickly and cheaply get high. The autopsy report further indicated that drugs and alcohol did not play a role in the 35-year-old’s death. 

‘Naked and Afraid’ Star Jeremy McCaa Reflected on the Friendship He Had With Melanie Rauscher 

In a statement to PEOPLE, fellow Naked and Afraid star Jeremy McCaa reflected on the friendship he and Rauscher had. 

“We just clicked from the moment we met,” McCaa explained. He also stated that she was like a sister he never had. “Our relationship became like siblings and we shared a special bond. She always put other people before herself. She was really well-loved in the Naked and Afraid community. Everyone will miss her.”

Along with the statement, McCaa also paid tribute to the fellow former Naked and Afraid contestant. “She came into my life in a way I can’t explain. We had such a chemistry on the show and it blossomed into a friendship that goes beyond words could describe. Her daughter was one of a kind. Her friendship was amazing.”

McCaa also wrote that while they weren’t related by blood, they were absolutely family. “I could always count on her. We had so many moments when we would just bother for each other. She was my swamp wife, a best friend, a strong woman, and an amazing person and I’ll always cherish our moments together.”

McCaa went on to add that his Naked and Afraid co-star was taken from everyone too early. “You’ll always be my Mel. I love you and I’ll see you again one day. The world lost an amazing person. Please keep her family and friends in your prayers. See you again my Queen.”