'Naked and Afraid': Melanie Rauscher Cause of Death Revealed

Naked and Afraid contestant Melanie Rauscher's cause of death has been determined, over a month after she was found dead at a home in Prescott, Arizona. Rauscher was 35. She was dogsitting for a family on vacation, and the family found her deceased when they returned on July 17.

Rauscher died after inhaling a legal amount of compressed air used for cleaning products, according to the Yavapai County Medical Examiner autopsy report, obtained by TMZ. She inhaled toxic propellant, which led to her being found unresponsive. Her official cause of death was listed as difluoroethane toxicity, also known as "huffing" or a way to get high quickly. Drugs and alcohol did not play a role in her death, according to the report.

Rauscher was found dead in the guest room of a family she was dogsitting for on July 17, Prescott Police told TMZ in July. Police found multiple cans of compressed air, commonly used to dust computers and other household electronics, near her body, a police representative said. Police said they did not find a suicide note or drug paraphernalia near her body.

Rauscher's family plans to hold a celebration of life in Philadelphia in October, according to her obituary. Her family asks for donations to be made in her memory to the PTSD Foundation of America in lieu of flowers. She is survived by her parents, two sisters, a niece, a nephew, her aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. She served on the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt CVN-17 during the Iraq War.

The Discovery Channel star appeared on Naked and Afraid in 2013 and its spinoff Naked and Afraid XL in 2015. Her close friend and co-star Jeremy McCaa shared a heartbreaking tribute to Rauscher on July 19.

0comments

"She came into my life in a way I can't explain," McCaa wrote. "We had such a chemistry on the show and it blossomed into a friendship that goes beyond words could describe. Her laughter was one of a kind. Her friendship was amazing. Even tho we wasn't blood, we was family. I could always count on her. We had so many moments when we would just be there for each other."

"She was my swamp wife, a best friend, a strong woman, an amazing person and I'll always cherish our moments together," McCaa continued. "You're gone to soon and taken from us to 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."