NASSAU, Bahamas – Medical personnel frantically tried to revive Anna Nicole Smith's son after he collapsed in September 2006 in the former Playboy playmate's hospital room, a doctor testified Monday at the start of a coroner's inquest.
After a "Code Blue" alert was sounded, doctors, nurses and security guards crowded into the room and found Daniel Smith unconscious, not breathing and with no pulse, said Dr. James Iferenta, the emergency room doctor on duty at the time. Iferenta said a woman, whom he later learned was Anna Nicole, was distraught and would not let go of her 20-year-old son.
"There was difficulty getting her out of the room," Iferenta said of Anna Nicole. "She clung to Smith during my time in the room."
Her attorney and partner, Howard K. Stern, who was present when Daniel Smith died, discussed the relationship between son and mother.
"She was very close to Danny and I saw it," he testified. "Almost every time I saw Anna Nicole, she had Danny with her."
Iferenta and Stern were among the first of about 35 witnesses expected to testify before a seven-member jury at an inquest to formally determine the cause death. Daniel Smith died about five months before Anna Nicole herself collapsed and died in Florida.
Police have said there is no evidence of homicide in the death of Daniel Smith. An autopsy found the likely cause was a combination of drugs, including methadone and antidepressants. The jury can recommend authorities pursue criminal charges if it finds evidence of wrongdoing.
Daniel Smith had come to the Bahamas to visit his mother after the birth of her daughter, Dannielynn. His death was the start of a celebrity soap opera that would soon engulf the island chain, where Anna Nicole Smith lived with
Anna Nicole's death on Feb. 8 set off a fight over where to bury the former model and who would get custody of Dannielynn. She was eventually buried to great fanfare in the Bahamas, next to Daniel, and custody of her daughter went to former boyfriend Larry Birkhead.
On Monday, Stern described identifying Daniel Smith's body at the morgue but did not discuss in detail the events that lead up to his death. The attorney general's office said Stern may be recalled as a witness for further questioning.
Stern is the executor of Anna Nicole Smith's estate and has filed papers to make Dannielynn the sole beneficiary of the estate, which has made a legal claim for millions from the oil fortune of the model's late husband, J. Howard Marshall II.
Testimony in the inquest is scheduled to resume Tuesday.