- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 14, 2006

NASSAU, Bahamas — Anna Nicole Smith supports a formal inquest to determine how her 20-year-old son died while visiting her in the hospital, an attorney for the former Playboy playmate and reality TV star said yesterday.

“She fully wants this process to take place, and she wishes the public to not jump to conclusions and to wait for the conclusion of the proceedings,” said Michael Scott, one of Miss Smith’s attorneys.

Daniel Wayne Smith died Sunday, three days after Miss Smith gave birth to a daughter in the Bahamas.

A jury inquest is scheduled to begin on Oct. 23. Witnesses including Miss Smith, hospital staff and others who saw her son the night of his death were expected to be summoned.

A toxicology report on Mr. Smith was expected to be completed by today. The body then will be flown home to California for burial.

The Bahamas coroner’s office has called the death “suspicious.” That means the cause was not immediately apparent and did not necessarily imply foul play, Coroner Linda P. Virgill told reporters yesterday.

If the inquest, which will be open to the public, determines a crime was committed, the case would be sent to the attorney general’s office.

Police think Mr. Smith arrived in the Bahamas on Saturday night and went directly to Doctors Hospital in Nassau, the private facility where his half-sister was born two days earlier. He spent the night in a room with his mother and her attorney, Howard K. Stern.

The 38-year-old TV star noticed that her son had stopped breathing in the morning and called for help, Mr. Scott has said. Hospital staff unsuccessfully tried CPR and other measures to revive him. Police have said no evidence of drugs was found at the scene.

Mr. Smith was the son of Anna Nicole and Bill Smith, who married in 1985 and divorced two years later. The son had small roles in her movies “Skyscraper” and “To the Limit.”

Miss Smith married Texas oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II in 1994, when she was 26 and he was 89. He died the next year. She then feuded with Mr. Marshall’s son, Pierce Marshall, over her entitlement to the tycoon’s estate before Pierce Marshall died in June at 67.

An initial judgment of $474 million in her favor was eventually reduced to nothing. In May, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Miss Smith could continue to pursue her claim in federal courts in California, despite a Texas state court ruling that Mr. Marshall’s youngest son was the sole heir.

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