Miami (CBSMiami) – A West Palm Beach man who died after eating handfuls of roaches in a Deerfield Beach pet store bug and worm eating contest suffocated in part from bug parts lodged in his throat.
The Broward Medical Examiner said Edward Archbold, 32, died as the “result of asphyxia due to choking and aspiration of gastric contents.”
The ME found the choking and vomiting were brought on by “airway obstruction by the arthropod body parts” and said the death was asphyxial in nature.
The ME ruled Archbold’s death was an accident.
Archbold died October 6th after taking part in the contest at the Ben Siegel Reptile Store. He was competing for the first prize of a Python.
“We were supposed to eat as many bugs as we can in a certain amount of time and whoever ate most got the snake,” said contestant Pharoah Gayle back in October.
Witnesses said Archbold really went at it.
“He was literally taking roaches by the handful and just going like this (stuff them into his mouth),” said Olivia Murphy at the time. “He wanted the snake bad. He was like throwing them in his mouth, like doing everything he could to beat them.”
Shortly after Archbold won the contest, he said he wasn’t feeling well and started vomiting uncontrollably.
“I just saw bugs all over his face, stuff like drooling down his face, and I was kind of throwing up a little bit myself just from like seeing that,” said Murphy.
Archbold collapsed in front of the store. He was taken to Broward Health North were he was pronounced dead.
Store owner Ben Siegel said he’d only met Archbold that day.
Siegel’s attorney said all participants in the contest signed a waiver in which the acknowledged what they were doing and accepted responsibility for their participation “In this unique and unorthodox contest.” They added that the bugs used in the contest were “taken from an inventory of insects that are safely and domestically raised in a controlled environment as food for reptiles.”
None of the other participants complained of illness.