Chris Cornell's Widow Fights for Toxicology Report Amid 'Unanswered Questions' About the Singer's Suicide

The Cornell's attorney is "mystified that the medical examiner announced a cause of death when the full autopsy report has not been completed"

Chris Cornell‘s widow has “several unanswered questions” about her husband’s passing.

In the immediate aftermath of the Soundgarden singer’s shocking death in Detroit on May 18 — which The Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office declared a “suicide by hanging” within hours — Vicky Karayiannis Cornell shared her belief that the prescription drug Ativan may have played a role in the tragedy. “I am hopeful that further medical reports will provide additional details,” she said at the time.

Now the Cornell’s attorney, Kirk Pasich, says the family is “mystified that the medical examiner announced a cause of death when the full autopsy report has not been completed.”

In a new statement, obtained by PEOPLE, Pasich claims that a Freedom of Information Act request for “reports relating to Chris Cornell’s death” was denied by the City of Detroit Law Department.

According to Pasich, the law enforcement’s denial stated: “Based on information provided by personnel from the City of Detroit Police Department (DPD) Homicide Section, it is our understanding that this matter is an open investigation. As such they believe that the release of any information at this time, including the records identified in your request, would compromise and/or interfere with their investigation.”

Audioslave's Chris Cornell Hosts Party at Marquee - September 14, 2006
Brian Ach/WireImage

On May 19, Karayiannis Cornell revealed she had spoken to her husband after his performance at Detroit’s Fox Theatre. “When we spoke after the show, I noticed he was slurring his words; he was different. When he told me he may have taken an extra Ativan or two, I contacted security and asked that they check on him.”

Toxicology reports would be instrumental in determining what role — if any — the anti-anxiety medication played in Cornell’s decision to take his own life. Pasich confirms that the Cornell family has not yet seen any of the toxicology results and await the final police reports.

“We are grateful for the outpouring of support as we mourn Chris’ passing, but we still have several unanswered questions about what led to his death,” Karayiannis Cornell added in Thursday’s statement. “We believe the toxicology report will answer these questions.”

  • Reporting by SARAH MICHAUD

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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