Cause of death deemed inconclusive for man bitten by snake
NIXA - An investigation into the death of a southwest Missouri man who was bitten by a cottonmouth snake has failed to determine how he died.
Christian County Sheriff Brad Cole told the Springfield News-Leader the manner of death for 37-year-old Gilbert De Leon could not be determined.
The Nixa man was wading in the James River on May 22 when he was bitten by a snake. His girlfriend told authorities he refused to go to a hospital, and she found him dead the next morning.
A toxicology report says De Leon was legally drunk and had high levels of prescription drugs in his blood when he died.
Snakebite fatalities are rare in Missouri, and a conservation department herpetologist said he thought it was the state's first cottonmouth-related snakebite death.