Anna Nicole Smith frantically tried to revive her stricken son and had to be sedated after he died, her attorney said Wednesday. Authorities termed the death “suspicious” and said criminal charges could be filed.
Daniel Smith died Sunday while visiting his mother, a reality TV star and former Playboy playmate, in her hospital room three days after she gave birth to a baby girl.
“The devastation and grief over Daniel’s sudden death coupled with the sedation has been so extreme that Anna Nicole experienced memory loss of the event,” attorney Michael Scott said.
The chief inspector of the Bahamas coroner’s office on Wednesday called the death of the 20-year-old Smith “suspicious” and a formal inquiry that could lead to criminal charges was scheduled for next month.
Police also revealed that a third person was in the hospital room at the time of the death.
But Scott said that the third person was another one of Anna Nicole Smith’s attorneys, Howard K. Stern.
He said Anna Nicole Smith and Stern continued efforts to revive Smith even after he had been proclaimed dead by staff at Doctors Hospital in Nassau.
“Anna Nicole was so distraught at the loss of Daniel that she refused to leave his side and it was necessary to sedate her in order to check her out of the hospital,” Scott read from a prepared statement.
He said she suffered memory loss and that it “was necessary for Howard to tell Anna again that Daniel had passed away,” he added.
Authorities said they believe they know what killed Smith but were waiting for a toxicology report to confirm the findings.
Anna Nicole Smith, who went to the U.S. Supreme Court this year to sue for an inheritance, was in seclusion in the Bahamas with family and friends, Scott said. The identity of the newborn girl’s father has not been publicly disclosed.
“You would expect any parent who sustained this kind of loss” to seek seclusion, Scott said.
A jury inquest, which will be open to the public, is scheduled to start Oct. 23, and Anna Nicole Smith will be required to attend, coroner Linda P. Virgill said.
“Whenever there is a suspicious death we would have an inquest to determine how the person died,” Bradley Neely, chief inspector of the coroner’s office, told Associated Press Television News.
The autopsy and toxicology reports will not be made public until the inquest is held, to avoid prejudicing the jury, Virgill said.
Jurors will meet in a courtroom inside a weathered, pink-pastel judicial building in the seaside capital, Nassau. If the inquest, which will be open to the public, determines a crime was committed, the case would be sent to the attorney general’s office.
Virgill said there was no sign of physical injury to Smith, who was seen helping make his 38-year-old mother comfortable before he died. Anna Nicole Smith noticed him slumped in a chair Sunday morning and called for help. Hospital staff unsuccessfully tried CPR and other measures to revive him.
Smith in seclusion with family
Scott dismissed media reports that Anna Nicole Smith’s son had antidepressants or other drugs in his system.
“It’s sheer speculation. It’s irresponsible speculation, may I point out,” he told reporters.
Ferguson, the assistant police commissioner, told the AP that no drug paraphernalia or traces of illegal drugs were found on Daniel Smith, in the hospital room or near the room.
Police believe Daniel Smith went directly to Doctors Hospital in Nassau after arriving in the Bahamas by plane, Ferguson said.
Daniel Smith was the son of Anna Nicole and Bill Smith, who married in 1985 and divorced two years later. The son had small roles in her movies “Skyscraper” and “To the Limit.” He also appeared on the E! reality series “The Anna Nicole Show.”
Anna Nicole Smith married Texas oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II in 1994, when she was 26 and he was 89. He died the following year.
She then feuded with Marshall’s son, Pierce Marshall, over her entitlement to the tycoon’s estate before he died in June at age 67.
Smith won a $474 million judgment, which was cut to about $89 million, and eventually reduced to zero. In May, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Smith could continue to pursue her claim in federal courts in California, despite a Texas state court ruling that Marshall’s youngest son was the sole heir.