‘Naked and Afraid’ Contestant Found Dead at 35

nakedandafraid via Instagram

Melanie Elizabeth Rauscher loved camping, hiking and adventure. Those interests contributed to her decision to participate on the Discovery Channel shows “Naked & Afraid” and the spinoff show “XL.” One of her close castmates on the show, Jeremy McCaa, posted a tribute to Rauscher on Facebook announcing her death. She was only 35 years old.

McCaa wrote, “She was my swamp wife, a best friend, a strong woman, an amazing person and I’ll always cherish our moments together. You’re gone to soon and taken from us to early. You’ll always be my Mel. I love you and I’ll see you again one day. The world lost an amazing person. Please keep her family and friends in your prayers. See you again my Queen.”

Hundreds of people have commented on McCaa’s post expressing their shock and sorrow at Rauscher’s death. One comment from a production manager who worked on one episode of the show reads, “Extremely sad news. Thank you for saying such kind words about such a kind person. In my brief interaction with her for those weeks in the swamp she was 1 of a kind. Very sad news.”

One fan of the show wrote, “This is just so heartbreaking. Watching you two on the show, both times, was just beautiful, a breath of fresh air, just wonderful….My heart is with you & Mel’s family. The world has lost a beautiful soul.”

Another person commented, “I served with Melanie in the Navy. She was an outstanding person and always fun to be around.”

According to TMZ, Rauscher was dog sitting in Prescott, Arizona. When the homeowners returned from vacation on July 17, 2022, they discovered Rauscher in the guest bedroom. She was dead. Several cans of compressed air like you’d use to clean a computer where near her body. It’s unclear if this is related. Her cause of death is being investigated by the Yavapai County Medical Examiner.

Police do not suspect foul play. Rauscher did not leave a suicide note. At this time, it is unclear what happened, but the dog she was watching is fine.

Rauscher’s family describes her as a “devoted daughter,” a “cherished sister” and a “loving aunt.” She was born in Philadelphia, attended college in Virginia and served in the U.S. Navy during the Iraq war. She worked at Prescott VA Medical Center. She had a “boisterous laugh” and she was “a diehard Eagles fan.” She will be missed by her family and loved ones. 

Melanie Elizabeth Rauscher Obituary