Ant bites, cocaine killed Cocoa woman, autopsy says

(Photo courtesy of BCSO)

COCOA, Fla. – A woman who likely passed out from cocaine use died after suffering an allergic reaction to ant bites, according to the Brevard County Sheriff's Office and the state Medical Examiner's Office in Rockledge, News 6 partner Florida Today reported.

Gustava Renee Rigsby, 59, of Cocoa, was found dead near the West Cocoa Grocery Store in the 400 block of South Burnette Road in Central Brevard on June 27. Early that morning, someone discovered Rigsby near a trash receptacle and called 911. 

Medical Examiner's Office Manager Craig Engleson said the autopsy showed several ant bites on Rigsby's body. The exact number was not available, but there were enough bites, along with swelling of the tongue, lungs and other body parts that led examiners to conclude the ants were one of the death factors, according to Florida Today.

"She wouldn't have had so many ant bites had she been conscious," Engelson said.

The ant bites on Rigbsy triggered anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction that requires immediate treatment. There's numerous causes for anaphylaxis, and they vary from person to person, Engelson said.

The autopsy was completed Sept. 15. The Sheriff's Office has not yet closed its investigation, spokesman Tod Goodyear said.