After several hours of delay, the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office announced at a press conference on Friday (June 26) that a determination of Michael Jackson’s cause of death following his autopsy has been deferred pending further tests.
The development had been expected, as the coroner’s office had warned earlier that tests conducted during the autopsy would take several weeks to complete.
“The cause of death has been deferred, which means that the medical examiner has ordered additional testing, such as toxicology and other studies,” Craig Harvey, the operations chief and spokesperson for the coroner’s office, said in a press conference. “Those tests we anticipated will take approximately four to six additional weeks to complete.”
In addition to the toxicology tests, the coroner’s office will be conducting neuropathology and pulmonary tests.
“After those results have been completed, we anticipate being able to close the case and issuing a final cause of death,” Harvey said.
The autopsy revealed no external trauma to Jackson’s body, nor any indication that foul play was involved in the singer’s death. A Los Angeles Police Department detective was present during the autopsy. The LAPD requested that a security hold be placed on the investigation of Jackson, so the coroner’s office was limited in the amount of information it could release.
While Harvey did confirm that Jackson was taking prescription medication, he would not comment on the specific types or doses of the medication.
The coroner’s office had not spoken with any personal doctor to Jackson. The LAPD announced earlier that it wanted to interview the doctor who was at Jackson’s home when the singer collapsed. According to TMZ, that doctor is cardiologist Dr. Conrad Murray, and he is preparing to speak with law enforcement officials.
The autopsy took approximately three hours, which Harvey said is a standard amount of time, and concluded at 1 p.m. PT. The subsequent press conference was postponed, Harvey explained, due to simple procedural delays and the need to handle various press inquiries.
With the autopsy complete, Jackson’s family can begin the process of claiming his body. There was still no word of when they plan on doing so, and no funeral plans have been announced at press time.
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