Despite earlier estimates that the results of Michael Jackson's autopsy would be released this week, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office said on Wednesday that the final verdict on what killed the 50-year-old pop star will not be announced until next week.
Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter told The Associated Press on Wednesday that despite plans to make the announcement this week, the results will be delayed further. Winter would not discuss the reasons for the latest hold-up in revealing what might have caused Jackson's death, but anonymous law enforcement sources said investigators are working under the theory that the singer's heart was stopped by a dose of the anesthetic Propofol.
Jackson died on June 25 and last week a coroner's office spokesperson told MTV News that officials have the toxicology results but are merely awaiting the final reports on the various tests. In the meantime, however, investigators have been conducting what has been described as a manslaughter investigation, and the singer's personal physician, cardiologist Dr. Conrad Murray, has emerged as the central focus of the probe.
Though Murray has not been named as a suspect in the case, on Wednesday an unnamed law enforcement official told CNN that the doctor hired by Jackson to be his personal, live-in physician is the central focus of the federal investigation into the singer's death. After carting away documents and other evidence from Murray's Houston medical office last week, police served search warrants on the doctor's Las Vegas home and medical practice on Tuesday, taking further evidence. A number of other doctors have been served with subpoenas requesting information on their treatment of Jackson, but the federal agent told CNN, "Dr. Murray is the only one we're looking at."
Police have interviewed Murray twice and a third sit-down is pending with the doctor, who is reported to have told investigators that he administered Propofol to Jackson prior to the pop star's death. The powerful anesthetic is intended for use in a doctor's office or medical setting, with the proper equipment to monitor breathing and heart function, and not for private use in homes. Jackson reportedly used the drug to combat chronic insomnia. Murray's lawyer has said that his client did not prescribe or administer any drugs that could have killed Jackson.
If authorities determine that Jackson's death was caused by the reckless administering of prescription drugs, the persons involved could be charged with manslaughter. Additionally, given news that Murray's offices were searched for evidence of the many aliases Jackson allegedly used to obtain prescriptions, others could be charged with felony counts of prescribing drugs under false names.