Autopsy: Smith's Son on Antidepressants

Monday, September 18, 2006

By MICHAEL MELIA, Associated Press Writer


NASSAU, Bahamas — Anna Nicole Smith's son was on prescription anti-depression medication when he died at the hospital bedside of the former reality TV star, a pathologist who did a second autopsy on the 20-year-old said Monday.

Daniel Smith, who died three days after his mother gave birth to a daughter, began taking a"quite low"dosage of prescription antidepressants four to six weeks ago, said forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht.

Wecht, speaking by phone from Miami a day after conducting the autopsy in the Bahamas, said he did not know whether the medication played any role in the death. He is still awaiting the results of toxicology tests to determine the cause of death.

Wecht's autopsy ruled out several natural causes _ including heart disease, stroke or a"congenital anomaly"_ as well as foul play. Investigators have said they did not find evidence of drugs or obvious signs of a crime.

Wecht, who ordered drug and chemical analyses that could take weeks, said he learned about the prescription medication after the autopsy from Daniel Smith's psychiatrist in the United States. The depression apparently"had to do with a girlfriend,"he said.

He said he and the Bahamian coroner who did the first autopsy agreed there was no evidence Daniel Smith died from a"suicidal overdose."

Bahamian pathologists performed an autopsy Sept. 12 and were expecting toxicology results this week, but the coroner's office has said the findings will not be released before a jury inquest scheduled for Oct. 23.

Smith ordered the follow-up autopsy to end"media speculation surrounding the matter,"said her Bahamian attorney, Michael Scott.

Smith died Sept. 10 at a hospital room in the Bahamas where the former Playboy model was recuperating from childbirth. Witnesses including Anna Nicole's attorney Howard K. Stern, who was in the room with the family at the time, said Daniel Smith had arrived on the island chain the previous day in good spirits, according to Wecht.

"He got off the plane and he was delighted. He was happy to be there with his mother and his sister,"Wecht told The Associated Press.

A funeral home embalmed Daniel's remains on Monday and was awaiting further instructions from the family.

Anna Nicole Smith, who came to the Bahamas during her pregnancy to avoid media scrutiny, was making the arrangements with the help of an attorney.

"To protect her privacy, you have to be very creative in the ways we communicate with her,"said Loretta Butler-Turner, the director of the funeral home hired by the family.

The 38-year-old celebrity has not indicated whether she will return to the United States with the body, Butler-Turner said.

Wecht, 75, is known as a critic of the Warren Commission's single-gunman theory of President John F. Kennedy's assassination.

He is facing trial on charges he used his staff when he was the coroner in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, to do work for his multimillion-dollar private pathology practice. He resigned from office in January and contends he did nothing wrong.

Daniel Smith, who appeared several times on the E! reality series"The Anna Nicole Show,"was the son of Anna Nicole and Bill Smith, who married in 1985 and divorced two years later.

The name of the father of her newborn daughter have not been publicly released.

Smith married Texas oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II in 1994, when she was 26 and he was 89. He died the following year and she has since been involved in legal disputes over the estate.

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