A Missouri man was wading through the James River during an afternoon walk with his girlfriend when he suddenly felt a small bite. The next morning, he was dead…
Gilbert De Leon, 37, was out walking with his girlfriend last Friday when they decided to wade into the river to cool off. Shortly after they got into the water, De Leon screamed in pain as he felt something bite him.
Later that night, his girlfriend said that De Leon seemed more tired than usual. She begged him to go to the hospital, but he stubbornly refused, which would unfortunately turn out to be a deadly mistake.
“That evening he got lethargic but just wouldn’t go to a hospital,” Christian County Coroner Brad Cole said. “They went to bed, and she reported he was snoring more loudly than usual.”
The next morning, the girlfriend woke up next to De Leon’s lifeless body. Police say De Leon had actually been bitten on both legs by a snake, and had succumbed to it’s lethal venom over night. The type of snake is still unknown.
“I’m not sure what kind of snake bit him, but the only venomous water snake I’m aware of is a cottonmouth,” said Cole. “It could have been something else, but we just don’t know.”
“We’ve sent off for lab tests that will take about eight weeks to get back,” Cole said. “The lab won’t tell us anything about a snake bite, but it will say if there was a drug overdose or alcohol overdose. However, I didn’t find anything else that looked to me like the cause of death was anything other than a snake bite.”
Missouri is home to five different venomous snakes, but Cole says he has never seen another snake fatality in his entire career.