Anna Nicole Smith believes a pathologist’s conclusion that her son died from an accidental lethal combination of drugs shows he didn’t commit suicide and hopes that others will learn from the tragedy, a lawyer said Thursday.
An American examiner hired by the family, Cyril Wecht, said 20-year-old Daniel Smith had methadone and two antidepressants in his system when he died Sept. 10 in his mother’s hospital room in the Bahamas. Low levels of the three drugs interacted to cause an accidental death, Wecht said.
“At least she knows the attacks on her son’s reputation can be put to rest because it’s clear he didn’t intentionally take his life,” said Wayne Munroe, a Bahamian attorney for the 38-year-old reality TV star and former Playboy Playmate.
Smith, who gave birth to a daughter three days before her son died at her bedside, is awaiting the conclusions of Wecht and the Bahamas pathologist who performed a separate official autopsy, Munroe said.
Wecht is waiting for test results on tissue samples before he completes his final report.
Smith wants others to learn from her son’s death, Munroe told The Associated Press.
“She wants to see exactly what happened in a final report because she wants to make sure it doesn’t happen to someone else’s son,” he said.
Daniel Smith, who reportedly was hospitalized for depression and back pain before he traveled to Nassau, had been prescribed the antidepressant Lexapro, Wecht said. He said he had not determined whether Smith had also been prescribed Zoloft, the other antidepressant found in his system.
The two drugs can be lethal when taken together or in sequence, according to Ann Blake Tracy, the Des Moines, Iowa-based director of the International Coalition for Drug Awareness.
“The residue can stay there for some time, and if they’re prescribed one after they’ve taken another, they can end up in trouble,” she said.
Wecht said he did not know why Smith was taking methadone, a pain-reliever that is also used to ease heroin cravings for recovering addicts.
The combination of the three drugs, even in low doses, could easily have killed Smith, said Lisa Johnson, a pharmacist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
“The methadone will slow you down, but the other ones make your system speed up, so it’s an odd combination,” she said.
Chief Magistrate Roger Gomez said he has not received official toxicology results or a police report, which can determine whether a jury inquest is necessary. Wecht, a Pittsburgh-based forensic pathologist, plans to discuss his findings with Bahamas officials. Gomez said Wecht’s toxicology results will not affect the Bahamian investigation.
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.
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 has since been involved in legal disputes over the estate.