Cops: No Evidence of Crime in Anna Nicole Smith's Death
February 9, 2007 6:55pm CST
No illegal drugs were found in Anna Nicole Smith's hotel room and there is no evidence that her death was a crime, police said at a press conference on Friday. "At this point no evidence has been revealed to suggest that a crime occurred. We have found no illegal drugs, only prescription medicines," said Charlie Tiger, Seminole Police Chief. "We are not releasing the names on those prescriptions. We have taken sworn statements from all the parties involved; everyone has cooperated fully." The Broward County, Fla., chief medical examiner, Dr. Joshua Perper, said that he found no pills in Smith's stomach, and that the final determination of the cause of death will require another three to five weeks. Perper said at the press conference that Thursday's death of the 39-year-old could have been caused by one of three reasons. The first, he said, is that it could be attributed "solely to natural causes." The second, "due to some medical and chemicals." And the third, "a combination of natural causes and medication. At this time we don't have the results that would allow us to make a final determination." Perper did say that he was able to "exclude any kind of physical injury such as blunt force trauma, gunshot wound, stab wound or asphyxia as a cause of death." According to Perper, Smith "had been sick for several days with what was approximately some kind of stomach flu" before she collapsed at the Hard Rock Hotel in Hollywood, Fla., Thursday afternoon at about 1 p.m. Her bodyguard tried to resuscitate Smith, and she was taken to the hospital. "The patient was, unfortunately, virtually dead upon arrival." Perper said the only signs of minor trauma to Smith's body were some bruises on her back, said to be the result of a recent slip in the bathroom. He termed Smith's "a sudden unexpected and unexplained death." As for the investigation, police are continuing to review surveillance tapes, said Tiger. "This incident will remain an open investigation until all tests have been completed by the medical examiner's office." In other developments on Friday, a Los Angeles judge refused to order an emergency DNA test on the body of the late Smith, which had been requested to help determine the paternity of her daughter, Dannielynn. Debra Opri, the attorney for photographer Larry Birkhead who claims he is Dannielynn's father, had made the request. She participated in a closed-door hearing with Smith's attorney, Ron Rale, shortly before 9 a.m. in Los Angeles. Opri said, "It is very important that the DNA connect Anna with the baby being tested. We don't want a baby switch." Smith's attorney and longtime confidant, Howard K. Stern, 38, claims that he is the father. Birkhead, 34, also requested custody of Dannielynn, which the judge denied on Friday. A Bahamian official told PEOPLE Friday that Stern returned to the Bahamas on Thursday evening and that he has taken custody of the baby, who had been staying with the mother of Bahamas Immigration Minister Shane Gibson – however, Stern's lawyer, James Neavitt, says Stern was in Florida as of Friday morning, as does a source close to Stern's family. A full hearing in the matter has been scheduled for Feb. 20. The body of Smith, who died at age 39 on Thursday, was ordered to be held in Florida, pending the Feb. 20 hearing. To complicate the paternity issue, on Friday the husband of actress Zsa Zsa Gabor told the Associated Press that he had a decade-long affair with Anna Nicole Smith and may be her daughter's father.