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No evidence of foul play in Smith’s death

A medical examiner said Friday that there was no evidence of foul play during his autopsy of Anna Nicole Smith and that further tests would be needed to determine the cause of her death. He also said it would take 3-5 weeks to get back toxicology and other test results.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Prescription drugs were found in Anna Nicole Smith’s hotel room, but there were no pills in her stomach, and investigators said Friday they are awaiting tests that would tell whether the former centerfold died of an overdose, as some close to her suspect.

Dr. Joshua Perper, the Broward County medical examiner, said no illegal drugs were found in her room at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood. He would not identify the prescription drugs.

But CNN quoted an unidentified law enforcement source as saying investigators found a large amount of prescription medicine, including Valium and antibiotics, and over-the-counter cold and flu medication.

Star magazine also is reporting that Smith's Florida hotel room was like "walking into a pharmacist's shop" and that prescription medication found at the scene included the stimulant Provigil, the antidepressant Xanax, the powerful pain reliever Vicodin, and the morphine-like pain reliever Methadone.

Perper said there were no pills in Smith’s stomach and no other immediate indication of an overdose, but officials “do not exclude any kind of contribution of medication to the death.”

Describing signs of inflammation in Smith’s heart, Perper said he saw “something which looks a little bit unusual,” but added, “It may be nothing.”

He said it would take three to five weeks to conclude the investigation.

Seminole Police Chief Charlie Tiger said there was no indication Smith was the victim of a crime, and Perper said the autopy was able to exclude any types of physical injury such as blows to the body or asphyxiation.

“There are a number of possibilities” as to the cause of death, Perper said, including natural causes, a drug reaction or some combination.

Smith apparently had been sick for several days with some kind of stomach flu, Perper said.

Authorities planned to interview nurses and examine medical records before settling on a cause of death, Perper said.

On Thursday, a private nurse found Smith unconscious in her room and called 911. Smith was declared dead at a hospital. She was 39.

Smith's mother blamed drugs for the former Playboy playmate’s sudden death.

'Too drugged up'
“I think she had too many drugs, just like Danny (Smith’s late son),” her mother, Vergie Arthur, told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Friday. “I tried to warn her about drugs and the people that she hung around with. She didn’t listen.”

“She was too drugged up,” Arthur said. “By the last interview I saw of her, she was so wasted.”

Smith’s attorney, Ron Rale, said the one-time reality TV star had been ill for several days with a fever and was still depressed over the death five months ago of her 20-year-old son from what a private medical examiner determined was a combination of methadone and two antidepressants.

The birth certificate lists Dannielynn’s father as attorney Howard K. Stern, Smith’s most recent companion, who Rale said was with Smith at the hotel and was too choked up to talk when he called Rale with the news. Smith’s ex-boyfriend Larry Birkhead is waging a legal challenge, saying he is the father.

At a hearing Friday in Los Angeles, a judge declined Birkhead’s attorney’s request to order an immediate DNA sample be taken from Smith’s body. The judge ordered the body be retained, though, until a hearing on Feb. 20, attorney Debra Opri said.

Opri said the DNA is needed to connect Smith with Dannielynn “so that no one can switch the babies.”

She also asked the judge to take jurisdiction over the child until her paternity is established. “Nothing was granted. Nothing was denied,” she said.

Rale, Smith’s attorney, said it was “despicable that we would have an emergency notice and appear right now.”

The baby was being cared for in the Bahamas by the mother of Shane Gibson, the Bahamian immigration minister who is a close friend of Smith’s, People magazine reported on its Web site, citing unidentified sources.

A visibly shaken Gibson declined comment as he was leaving his office Thursday night, and he has not responded to several message left by The Associated Press seeking comment.

Through the ’90s and into the 21st century, Smith was famous for being famous, a pop-culture punchline because of her up-and-down weight, her Marilyn Monroe looks, her exaggerated curves, her little-girl voice, her ditzy-blonde persona and her over-the-top revealing outfits.

The short, tragic life of the former Playboy playmate and model.

Recently, she lost a reported 69 pounds and became a spokeswoman for TrimSpa, a weight-loss supplement. In recent TV appearances, her speech was often slurred and she seemed out of it. Some critics said she seemed drugged-out.

“Undoubtedly it will be found at the end of the day that drugs featured in her death as they did in the death of poor Daniel,” said Michael Scott, a former attorney for Smith in the Bahamas.

Rale said he had talked to her on Tuesday or Wednesday, and she had flu symptoms and a fever and was still grieving over her son. He dismissed claims her death was related to drugs as “a bunch of nonsense.”

“Poor Anna Nicole,” he said. “She’s been the underdog. She’s been besieged ... and she’s been trying her best and nobody should have to endure what she’s endured.”

The Texas-born Smith was a topless dancer at a strip club before she made the cover of Playboy magazine in 1992. She became Playboy’s playmate of the year in 1993. She was also signed to a contract with Guess jeans, appearing in TV commercials, billboards and magazine ads.

Legal fight for late husband's moneyIn 1994, she married 89-year-old oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II, owner of Great Northern Oil Co. After his death the following year, she engaged in a protracted legal fight with her former stepson, E. Pierce Marshall, over whether she had a right to the estate.

A federal court in California awarded Smith $474 million. That was later overturned. But in May, the U.S. Supreme Court revived her case, ruling that she deserved another day in court.

The stepson died June 20 at age 67, but the family said the court fight would continue.

Smith starred in her own reality TV series, “The Anna Nicole Show,” in 2002-04. She also appeared in movies, performing a bit part in “The Hudsucker Proxy” in 1994.

Smith was born Vickie Lynn Hogan on Nov. 28, 1967, in Houston, one of six children. Her parents split up when she was a toddler, and she was raised by her mother, a deputy sheriff.

She dropped out after 11th grade after she was expelled for fighting, and worked as a waitress and then a cook at Jim’s Krispy Fried Chicken restaurant in Mexia.

She married 16-year-old fry cook Bill Smith in 1985, giving birth to Daniel before divorcing two years later.