The examiner who performed a second autopsy Sunday on Anna Nicole Smith’s 20-year-old son said he could not yet determine the cause of death.
Cyril Wecht, a forensic pathologist who gained fame as a critic of the government’s probe into John F. Kennedy’s assassination and as a consultant in Elvis Presley’s death, ruled out several potential natural causes including heart disease, stroke, or a “congenital anomaly.”
He also affirmed findings by Bahamas investigators that foul play did not appear to be involved in the young man’s death, which was labeled “suspicious” by the coroner’s office because the cause was still unclear.
He said he has requested Daniel Smith’s medical records from the United States and ordered further tests that could take weeks to complete. He said he had sent samples to a lab in the United States for further examination, including toxicology tests.
“I don’t find anything that would cause me to believe there is something in terms of some traumatic injury that was inflicted, or somebody having done something to him in some cryptic manner that could not be observed,” Wecht told reporters outside the morgue where he performed the procedure.
The former Playboy model and reality TV star’s son died Sept. 10 in a hospital room where she was recuperating from giving birth three days earlier. Investigators have said they did not find evidence of drugs in the room or obvious signs of a crime.
Reginald Ferguson, assistant commissioner of the Royal Bahamas Police Force, has said that although there were no obvious signs of criminal wrongdoing in the death, it was too early to draw conclusions. An inquest is scheduled to begin Oct. 23.
Bahamian pathologists performed an autopsy Tuesday and ordered further analysis, including a toxicology test to be completed this week.
Wecht was accompanied to the morgue by Michael Scott, Anna Nicole’s Bahamian lawyer, who told reporters she had ordered the follow-up autopsy to end “media speculation surrounding the matter.”
Wecht said he was coordinating his own investigation with local authorities.
“You can have an independent investigation and it doesn’t have to be disagreeable,” he said.
Head Bahamian coroner Linda Virgill said it was not unusual for families to ask for an independent examination.
A hearse took Smith’s body to a Nassau funeral home, which was preparing to return the remains to California this week.
Wecht, who holds both law and medical degrees, received international prominence as a critic of the Warren Commission’s single-gunman theory of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. He has also worked as a consultant on cases such as Presley’s death and the slayings of JonBenet Ramsey and Laci Peterson. He is regularly interviewed on television about high-profile cases.
Wecht, 75, is facing trial on charges he used his staff when he was the Allegheny County coroner to do work for his multimillion-dollar private pathology practice. He resigned from office in January and contends he did nothing wrong.
Smith, 38, who came to the Bahamas during her pregnancy to avoid media scrutiny, is free to leave the Caribbean island chain, authorities have said.
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 identity of the father of her newborn daughter has 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.