Autopsy: Smith's Death Not From Pills Or Trauma - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

2/9/06-Hollywood, FL

Autopsy: Smith's Death Not From Pills Or Trauma

Anna Nicole Smith did not appear to be a victim of foul play, according to preliminary results of an autopsy performed Friday.The cause and manner of the television celebrity's death were not determined, however, and the investigation remains open, said Dr. Joshua Perper, chief medical examiner of Broward County, Florida.

"At this time, we do not have the results of the tests that would permit us to make this determination," he said. "Our findings are limited to what we can see with our eyes."

Smith died Thursday after her private nurse found her unresponsive in her Hollywood, Florida, hotel room.

"There are a number of possibilities," Perper said, including natural causes, a drug reaction or some combination of causes.

Perper said there was no indication of blunt-force trauma, asphyxiation or other physical trauma.

He said Smith had a small bruise on her back, which probably resulted from a fall in the bathtub earlier in the week.

The medical examiner said his office is awaiting results of toxicological and other tests, but there were no drugs in her stomach.

He said if she had taken a large number of pills, some of the medicine would have remained in the stomach.

Seminole Police Chief Charlie Tiger said no evidence suggests a crime occurred and all witnesses were cooperating with the investigation.

Tiger said no illegal drugs were found in Smith's hotel room. He said prescription drugs were found, but he would not name them.

He said police were still analyzing surveillance tapes from the hotel, but so far had seen nothing unusual.

Judge orders body preserved

While the autopsy was taking place, a California judge ruled Smith's body must be preserved until at least February 20, when a hearing will be held to resolve a paternity dispute over the celebrity's 5-month-old daughter.

Superior Court Judge Robert Schneider's ruling came as new information surfaced about Smith's last days, during which she fell ill, according to sources.

It could take weeks for tests to determine what killed the 39-year-old reality TV star, Playboy playmate and former Guess jeans model.

"We don't have supermen or superwomen working in our office," Perper said.

He said he still needed to ask "medical questions" of Smith's nurse and bodyguard and the paramedics and hospital personnel who treated her.

Authorities investigating Smith's death retrieved a "large amount" of prescription medicine from her hotel room, law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation said.

The prescription drugs were in the name of Smith's lawyer and boyfriend, Howard K. Stern, and included Valium and antibiotics, a law enforcement source said. Over-the-counter drugs, including cold and flu medicines, also reportedly were found.

Smith checked into the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, on Monday with Stern.

On Thursday, Smith's nurse found her in bed not breathing and called Smith's bodyguard, then Stern, a law enforcement source said. At 1:38 p.m., the nurse called the front office and hotel security called 911, Seminole Police Chief Charlie Tiger said.

Before rescue workers arrived, Smith's bodyguard performed CPR on her, Tiger said. She was taken to Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, where she was pronounced dead at 2:49 p.m. (Watch the police chief describe the rescue effortVideo)

Late Thursday, police said the hotel room had been cleared, and authorities carried bags of evidence out of the building.

Smith's attorney, Ron Rale, told reporters his client had been suffering from flu-like symptoms for the last couple of days. (Watch what might have led to Smith's deathVideo)

High fever, bump on head reported

In an interview with The Associated Press, Rale said Smith had been sick for several days with a fever and was still depressed over the September death of her son, Daniel.

Meanwhile, "Entertainment Tonight's" Mark Steines, the last person to interview her, told CNN that Smith had to be placed in an ice bath Tuesday after her fever reached 105 degrees.

Her fever came down, Steines said, but on Wednesday she slipped and fell in the bathtub. When Stern and her nurse went to check on her, "she seemed a little bit out of it" but didn't appear to have suffered any significant injuries, Steines said.

"That led to yesterday," Steines said Friday, "when after taking a nap, I believe, she never came to and never woke up." (Watch how Smith told Steines she was still having nightmares about her son's deathVideo)

In a statement Thursday, Smith's sister, Donna Hogan, said: "We are saddened and heartbroken by my sister's death. No matter what our differences have been over the years, Anna was still our blood and she will be missed terribly.

"She was a woman who was determined to get out of her small town in Texas and make a name for herself."

Hogan went on to say that the death of Smith's son last year "left her deeply saddened, a sadness she hid from everyone." Dannielynn Hope "is now without a mother," Hogan wrote.

In September, Smith gave birth to Dannielynn Hope in the Bahamas. Her son, Daniel, was found dead in his mother's hospital room three days later.

A life of celebrity and tribulations

Smith was known as much for her sometimes-turbulent life off-camera as she was for her show-business endeavors.

The former topless dancer in Houston, Texas, made her first appearance in Playboy in 1992, was named Playmate of the Year in 1993 and appeared in Guess jeans ads and movies.

In 2002, Smith launched a reality television program, "The Anna Nicole Show," on the E! Entertainment network. At one point, it was the network's highest-rated program.

She raised eyebrows in 1994 by marrying 89-year-old Texas oil magnate Howard Marshall II, who had an estate valued at $1.6 billion. He died the next year, and until her death Smith waged a legal battle over the inheritance that included a 2006 U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

"It's way too early for me to even guess what's going to happen in terms of other claims on behalf of the child," said Rusty Hardin, a Houston attorney who represents the Marshall family.

Earlier this week, Smith was included in a class-action lawsuit against TrimSpa, a company for which she was a spokeswoman in commercials and ads touting her weight loss.

TrimSpa makes a product it claims leads to substantial weight loss. The lawsuit alleges the marketing of the product, TrimSpa X32, was false or misleading.

In the paternity dispute over Dannielynn Hope, the judge declined to approve a motion requesting emergency DNA collection from Smith's body because DNA samples are routinely collected during autopsies.

Larry Birkhead, an entertainment reporter and photographer who has claimed to be the girl's father, filed an emergency order to obtain DNA samples to determine paternity, said his attorney, Debra Opri.

The judge ordered Smith's body -- which remains in Florida -- be preserved pending a February 20 hearing on a variety of issues, including when DNA samples will be collected from Dannielynn Hope, and when testing will be done to determine the identity of the girl's father.

Birkhead did not attend the Friday hearing because he was too upset about Smith's death, Opri said.

Asked why Smith's DNA was necessary in a paternity dispute, Opri responded, "We do not want a bait and switch of a child." She called it a "legitimate" concern.

Rale, who was in court to oppose the DNA order, called Opri's concerns nonsense.

Smith and Stern have both said that Stern is Dannielynn's father. Stern has said the couple planned to marry, but it was unclear whether they had.

CNN's KJ Matthews contributed to this report.

Copyright 2007 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.


Courtesy: CNN Newsource

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