Bethenny Frankel's On-Off Boyfriend Dennis Shields Won't Have Autopsy Due to Religious Reasons
An autopsy was not performed on Dennis Shields’ body due to religious reasons, according to authorities.
The New York City Medical Examiner’s Office announced Wednesday that it has ruled the cause and manner of the fatality undetermined.
“An OCME autopsy was not performed in this case due to a religious objection, upheld by law in such instances where no criminality is suspected,” Chief Medical Examiner Barbara Sampson said in a statement.
Frankel declined to comment via a rep.
A spokesperson for the Medical Examiner’s Office was unable to elaborate and told PEOPLE there would be no further comment.
“All we can say is that we did not complete the autopsy so we cannot definitively say what the cause of death is,” said the spokesperson.
Frankel, 47, first met the New York City-based banker almost 30 years ago when he dated (and later married) one of her high school friends, Jill. Though she didn’t stay in touch with her classmate, Frankel and Shields shared other mutual pals and began dating in 2016, several months after he separated from his wife. (Jill previously addressed Shields’ death in an exclusive statement to PEOPLE, saying: “We are all heartbroken. Dennis was, and will always be, the love of my life. His spirit lives on in our children. Please respect our family’s privacy at this time.”)
While a source told PEOPLE Frankel and Shields’ coupling was “unconventional and not always exclusive,” they did consider marriage in the months before his death — and he even gave her an engagement ring, according a source.
RELATED VIDEO: Bethenny Frankel Says She ‘Never Knows Exactly’ Where Relationship Stands with Dennis Shields
“It’s hard to breathe & I appreciate you giving me the space & support to try to do so,” she wrote. “It’s excruciating-sudden death is no closure & constant ?s & memories.”
She continued, “Our relationship is current so it’s painfully raw. Trying to stay healthy & move through it w tears & close friends. Xo.”