Sharp, tiny bits of the cockroach shells that West Palm Beach resident Edward Archbold ate during a pet-store contest likely contributed to his death, according to a source close to the investigation.
Authorities don’t believe Archbold, 32, suffered an allergic reaction to the insects, which are eaten all over the world.
“He was inhaling the cockroaches so fast to win the contest that he probably choked on shell shards,” said the source, who asked to remain anonymous. “They (investigators) are looking at the speed he ate them. Roaches are pretty dry and their shells pretty hard. He probably didn’t chew the roaches properly.”
A video of a similar contest shows participants drink water to ease the chewing.
Detectives with the Broward County Sheriff are awaiting results of an autopsy to file their incident report.
This much is know: Archbold, a canvas maker, participated in a contest Friday night at the well-known Ben Siegel Reptiles store in Deerfield Beach. The grand prized with a pricey python, and Archbold’s plan was to give it to a friend.
It is unclear who many of the insects, and worms, Archbold ate. He won the contest, but moments later collapsed in the store parking lot.
On his Facebook page before the contest, he wrote: “So, I guess I’m in a cockroach-eating contest tonight … wish me luck.” Later, he added: “So, I nailed the qualifying. Quota was 10 roaches in 30 seconds. I did 8 and the 2 that my competitor vomited next to me.”
Funeral service for Archbold is scheduled for 11 am Saturday at St. Maurice Catholic Church, 2851 Stirling Rd, Hollywood.
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