Daniel was taking antidepressants, but "everything was well under control," pathologist Cyril Wecht says

By Linda Trischitta and Nicole Weisensee Egan
Updated September 17, 2006 06:00 PM
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The forensic pathologist hired by Anna Nicole Smith to perform a second autopsy on her son Daniel says the 20-year-old had been taking an antidepressant before his death last week.

“About four to six weeks before he died, Daniel had been prescribed a small dosage of one of the milder antidepressants,” Cyril Wecht told PEOPLE on Monday. He said Daniel was taking Lexapro, which is used to treat depression and anxiety.

Wecht was adamant that Daniel was not suicidal. “Everything was well under control,” he said. “There is nothing to suggest this was a suicide. The answer will reside with the toxicology tests.”

The results of the tissue tests won’t be ready for a few days and the toxicology results will not be in for at least two weeks, Wecht said.

At a press conference on Sunday, Wecht said the cause of death is still pending, but he has ruled out heart disease, cancer, systemic infection or a pulmonary embolism.

“I find nothing to suggest to me any kind of foul play,” Wecht added. “I think that we have a tragic death of a young man and ultimately the cause is going to be determined.”

Wecht also took samples for a second set of tests to compare them to those done in the Bahamas. Wecht says toxicology results may take two weeks to four months to come back, though Her Majesty’s Coroner Linda P. Virgill says a jury inquest is still scheduled for Oct. 23.

The body has been released to Butler’s Funeral Home in Nassau for the family.

Daniel Smith, 20, died in his mother’s hospital room Sept. 10 while visiting her three days after she gave birth to a baby girl. An autopsy was first performed early last week by forensic pathologist Dr. Govinda Raju.

Smith’s attorney, Michael Scott, who accompanied Wecht to the hospital Sunday, told reporters that Anna Nicole “is doing well, she is getting better.” Smith, he said, “wants everyone to stop jumping to conclusions, take a breath, step back and await the outcome of any reports from Dr. Wecht and Dr. Raju and to await the outcome of any coroner’s proceedings.

“(Anna Nicole) wants to know how (Daniel) died and we all want to know,” Scott said. “It could take weeks to get a definitive, final answer.”

Bahamian officials last week labeled Daniel’s death "suspicious" because the cause of death is unclear, and the results of their toxicology report will be not be revealed until the start of the jury inquest on Oct. 23. Smith, hospital staff and others who saw Daniel on the night of his death are expected to be called to testify.

Wecht, 75, a Pittsburgh-based forensic pathologist who has previously consulted in the death investigations of Elvis Presley and JonBenet Ramsey, is facing trial on charges that he improperly used his staff to work for his private practice while he served as Allegheny County, Pa., coroner. Wecht, who resigned from the position in January, denies any wrongdoing.