An official in the Bahamas has labeled the death of Anna Nicole Smith’s 20-year-old son Daniel “suspicious” and said a planned formal inquiry could lead to criminal charges, the Associated Press reports.
“Whenever there is a suspicious death we would have an inquest to determine how the person died,” Bradley Neely, chief inspector of the Bahamas coroner’s office, told AP Television News Wednesday.
His statement echoes comments made Tuesday by Her Majesty’s Coroner Linda P. Virgill, who told PEOPLE an inquest “is standard procedure when there are sudden deaths and one should not (assume) foul play.”
Virgill has scheduled the inquest for the week of Oct. 23, calling it “the right course of action.” If jurors decide a crime took place, the case will be sent to the attorney general’s office, authorities said.
Meanwhile, a lawyer for Smith said Wednesday that Anna Nicole tried to revive her son and had to be sedated after his death.
“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 in a prepared statement, AP reports. “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.”
At the press conference Wednesday, Scott said of Anna Nicole: “She is still in the country, she is in seclusion with her family and friends as you would expect any parent who has sustained this kind of loss (to be).”
Smith is said to be too overcome by grief to even talk about the cause of her son’s death, which occurred on Sunday, just three days after she gave birth to a baby girl, those close to the situation said earlier this week.
New York City-based TrimSpa CEO Alex Goen, for whose product Smith is a spokesperson, told CNN’s Larry King on Tuesday that he had spoken to Smith only two hours before the broadcast. In their conversation, which lasted between 45 minutes and a hour, Goen said the distraught mother was “only coherent for about five minutes.”
“It was a very emotional conversation,” said Goen, who described himself as a friend as well as a business colleague of Smith’s. “She broke down many times. The few times she was coherent she talked about her baby girl. She brightened up for a moment there, but then very quickly started thinking about Daniel and broke down immediately afterwards.”
Asked if he and Smith had discussed the cause of Daniel’s death, Goen replied, “We would not get into that kind of conversation. She was not in that state to talk about the cause.”
He added, “How does a mom deal with that? Most moms never have to deal with the death of a son.” Regarding Smith’s association with TrimSpa, Goen said, “We would love to have her remain with the company. At this point, we’re really not thinking about that too much. We just want to comfort her. Her baby girl needs her to be strong.”
King also talked with Smith’s Bahamian obstetrician, Dr. Hubert Minnis, who delivered Smith’s daughter via C-section Thursday in Nassau’s Doctors Hospital. He said Smith had come through the procedure “remarkably” and was “talking quite jovially” when the baby arrived. In her current physical condition, she can travel home to the U.S. “if she wants to, very, very soon.”
But, he said, “emotionally, like any mother who has lost a child, she is experiencing grief. (She) cannot hide such a thing.” He also said that he “was not informed” of the cause of Daniel’s death, which police say took place while the young man was asleep in Smith’s hospital room. “As an obstetrician,” Minnis said, “I would not be managing him.”