Published January 13, 2015
Authorities issued a death certificate for the son of Anna Nicole Smith but left the cause of death undetermined pending toxicology tests, a lawyer for the former reality TV star's family said Thursday.
Attorney Michael Scott said the document will let the former Playboy playmate bury her son, Daniel Smith, who died Sept. 10 at his mother's hospital bedside in the Bahamas.
Filed on Wednesday, the death certificate lists the cause as "pending chemical analysis," said Chief Magistrate Roger Gomez.
"It is not unusual in instances where the cause of death cannot be determined to issue a death certificate," Gomez told The Associated Press. "This is not a matter of special treatment being given in this particular case."
Scott also said Thursday that Smith, 38, planned to file documents registering the birth of her 2-week-old daughter, but he declined to reveal the girl's name. He added that Anna Nicole Smith has been granted permanent residency in the Bahamas, where she came to avoid media scrutiny during her pregnancy.
She is gradually recovering from the death of her 20-year-old son, he said.
"She's much better," he told the AP. "You never get over that, you get through it. Time is the catalyst for that."
It will likely be two weeks before pathologists receive test results, said Scott, who is the attorney for Daniel Smith's estate.
Authorities say there is no evidence of homicide or suicide. A private examiner hired by the family, Cyril Wecht, said in an interview from his Pittsburgh office that the son was taking a low dose of the antidepressant Lexapro at the time of his death but he did not know whether it was a factor.
"We'll have to see if it proves to be an accidental drug-related death due to a couple of drugs in his system," said Wecht, who added that blood tests have ruled out the presence of alcohol and some drugs including cocaine, opiates and amphetamines.
Scott criticized the Bahamas' head coroner, Linda Virgill, for labeling the death "suspicious" last week and saying that her office knew the cause of death before toxicology tests were complete.
"Unless she's psychic or God, unless the pathologists know the cause of death, how does she?" said Scott, adding that some in the Bahamas worried the highly publicized case was affecting the island chain's image.
"We are all aware of what happened in Aruba. We are all aware of what happened to Natalee Holloway," he said, referring to the high-profile disappearance last year of an Alabama teen. "We don't want that to happen in this jurisdiction."
Virgill declined to comment Thursday when reached by the AP.
Gomez announced an overhaul of the system for medical inquests Wednesday in part because of complaints of preferential treatment that arose when Virgill scheduled an inquest just three days after Smith's death -- despite a backlog of other cases.
Larry Birkhead, a photojournalist who claims to be the newborn girl's father, said he regretted missing the birth as he was shown photos of the girl by a correspondent for TV show "Entertainment Tonight."
"It just seems like I should have been on the other side of this picture," Birkhead said.
Smith's camp has been silent on the identity of the girl's father.
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.
Anna Nicole 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.