Anna Nicole Smith Autopsy Inconclusive; No Evidence of Crime, No Illegal Drugs Found
Friday , February 09, 2007
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. —
Initial autopsy results on the body of Anna Nicole Smith failed to pinpoint the cause of death of the ex-Playboy Playmate and reality TV star, but no illegal drugs were found in her hotel room and there was no evidence of a crime, officials said Friday.
"We found no illegal drugs, only prescription medicines" in Smith's hotel room at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla., according to Seminole Police Chief Charlie Tiger. Nothing unusual was observed on hotel surveillance tapes, which are still being reviewed, and there was no evidence to suggest a crime occurred, he said.
Tiger said he was not releasing the names on the bottles of prescription pills, and that he had gotten sworn statements from all the parties involved.
Smith apparently had been sick for several days with some kind of stomach flu, said Dr. Joshua Perper, the Broward County medical examiner who performed the autopsy.
The autopsy found no pills in her stomach, but officials were awaiting the results of toxicological tests that would indicate whether she had taken drugs, Perper said.
Perper said there were three possible causes of Smith's death: medication, chemicals or a combination of natural causes and medication.
"I see something that looks a little unusual," he said. "At this time, we do not have the results of the tests which would permit us to make that determination.
Tiger said a cause of death was received by his office but "we're not going to release that at this time."
Perper said the autopsy was able to exclude any types of physical injury such as gunshot wound, asphyxiation or blunt trauma on the body of the 39-year-old, who died Thursday after being found unconscious in a hotel room.
It revealed only "subtle findings" in the heart and gastrointestinal tract, and blood in her stomach from being in shock before she died, Perper said. Minor bruises on her back were from a previous fall in the bathroom, he said.
"There were no findings that would indicate continuing drug abuse," Perper said. He called the process a "medical puzzle" and said it would take three to five weeks to conclude the investigation.
On Thursday, a private nurse found Smith unconscious in her room and called 911, officials said. A bodyguard performed CPR, Tiger said, but Smith was declared dead at a hospital.
It was unclear why Smith had a nurse with her; some media reports said the woman was with Smith all the time.
Meanwhile, a judge refused Friday to order an emergency DNA test on Smith's body. The test was requested by Larry Birkhead, Smith's ex-boyfriend who insists he is the father of Smith's 5-month-old daughter Dannielynn Hope Marshall Stern.
Smith's most recent companion, Howard K. Stern, is listed on Dannielynn's birth certificate as her father.
The judge did order Smith's body to be preserved until a Feb. 20 hearing, attorneys said.
In yet another complication in the case, Zsa Zsa Gabor's husband, Prince Frederick von Anhalt, said Friday that he had a decade-long affair with Smith and may be her daughter's father.
"If you go back from September, she wasn't with one of those guys, she was with me," von Anhalt, 59, told The Associated Press in an interview Friday.
He said he would file a lawsuit if Dannielynn is turned over to Stern or Birkhead.
Anhalt would not comment to FOX News about whether or not he's the father, but he said if the baby goes to Birkhead or Stern he will "jump in and give some information that gives some new light."
"I'm only upset that two guys fight for the fatherhood and they're not the father at all," he said.
Was It Drugs?
Shortly before Smith's autopsy was conducted Friday, her mother blamed drugs for her daughter's sudden death.
"I think she had too many drugs, just like Danny (Smith's late son)," her mother, Virgie Arthur, told ABC's "Good Morning America" on Friday. "I tried to warn her about drugs and the people that she hung around with. She didn't listen."
Smith's 20-year-old son Daniel Smith died in September from what a private medical examiner determined was a combination of methadone and two antidepressants. Daniel died on Sept. 10, just three days after Smith gave birth to Dannielynn.
Dannielynn, meanwhile, was being cared for in the Bahamas by the mother of Shane Gibson, the Bahamian immigration minister who is a close friend of Smith's, People magazine reported on its Web site, citing unidentified sources.
Smith's estranged sister Donna Hogan told FOX News Friday that she blames Stern for Smith's death and the death of her nephew, Daniel. She also doubts that Stern is the father of Dannielynn.
"Well we're not sure who the father is," Hogan said. "I don’t believe it's Stern — I don’t care if he is. He is unfit to raise that child. Both family members (Anna and Daniel) are gone — it's always Howard K. Stern there. It's always his name on the drugs or something."
Hogan added that she would like to press charges against Stern, and that Stern should have done more to stop her sister from using drugs.
"Howard K. Stern was just a friend who did everything that she told him to do. He's a moron," Hogan said. "I think he was obsessive over her, so he would do anything for her. If she wanted drugs, she could use him to get them and he would get them for her."
Smith checked into the Betty Ford Clinic in 1995 for addiction to prescription painkillers and alcohol.
Anna's Rise to Fame
Through the '90s and into the 21st century, Smith was famous for being famous, a pop-culture punchline because of her up-and-down weight, her Marilyn Monroe looks, her exaggerated curves, her little-girl voice, her ditzy-blonde persona and her over-the-top revealing outfits.
Recently, she lost a reported 69 pounds and became a spokeswoman for TrimSpa, a weight-loss supplement. In recent TV appearances, her speech was often slurred and she seemed out of it. Some critics said she seemed drugged-out.
"Undoubtedly it will be found at the end of the day that drugs featured in her death as they did in the death of poor Daniel," said Michael Scott, a former attorney for Smith in the Bahamas.
Rale said he had talked to Smith on Tuesday or Wednesday, and she had flu symptoms and a fever and was still grieving over her son. He dismissed claims her death was related to drugs as "a bunch of nonsense."
"Poor Anna Nicole," he said. "She's been the underdog. She's been besieged ... and she's been trying her best and nobody should have to endure what she's endured."
The Texas-born Smith was a topless dancer at a strip club before she made the cover of Playboy magazine in 1992. She became Playboy's playmate of the year in 1993. She was also signed to a contract with Guess jeans, appearing in TV commercials, billboards and magazine ads.
In 1994, she married 89-year-old oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II, owner of Great Northern Oil Co. After his death the following year, she engaged in a protracted legal fight with her former stepson, E. Pierce Marshall, over whether she had a right to the estate.
A federal court in California awarded Smith $474 million. That was later overturned. But in May, the U.S. Supreme Court revived her case, ruling that she deserved another day in court.
The stepson died June 20 at age 67, but the family said the court fight would continue.
Smith starred in her own reality TV series, "The Anna Nicole Show," in 2002-04. She also appeared in movies, performing a bit part in "The Hudsucker Proxy" in 1994.
Smith had been filming a movie called "Illegal Aliens" until September, when the production was shut down because of her son Daniel's death. Smith was a producer on the film, which poked fun at her dumb blonde persona, and Daniel was an associate producer.
Smith was born Vickie Lynn Hogan on Nov. 28, 1967, in Houston, one of six children. Her parents split up when she was a toddler, and she was raised by her mother, a deputy sheriff.
She dropped out after 11th grade after she was expelled for fighting, and worked as a waitress and then a cook at Jim's Krispy Fried Chicken restaurant in Mexia, Texas.
She married 16-year-old fry cook Bill Smith in 1985, giving birth to Daniel before divorcing two years later.