Autopsy unclear on Bobbi Kristina Brown’s death as accident or intentional

Bobbi Kristina Brown, only child of the late singer Whitney Houston, died in July, 2015, at the age of 22.
Bobbi Kristina Brown, only child of the late singer Whitney Houston, died in July, 2015, at the age of 22.PHOTO: REUTERS

ATLANTA (REUTERS) – The medical examiner investigating the death of Bobbi Kristina Brown, who spent months in a coma after being found unresponsive in a bathtub in her north Atlanta home last year, said on Friday that the office could not establish whether her demise was accidental or intentional.

The autopsy for Brown, the 22-year-old daughter of Grammy award-winning singers Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown, confirmed that drug intoxication and the immersion of her face in the water led to brain damage and pneumonia, which was ruled as the official cause of death.

The findings do not resolve the question of whether someone gave Brown a deadly drug cocktail, said University of Georgia law professor Ron Carlson.

“There is still some suspense and drama,” he said.

A judge on Thursday ordered Brown’s autopsy report to be unsealed over the objections of prosecutors, who said it would compromise an ongoing criminal investigation. No one has been charged in her death.

In a lawsuit, Brown’s former boyfriend, Nick Gordon, has been accused of causing her death and stealing from her bank account while she was in a coma.

Gordon’s spokesman was unavailable for comment. He previously called the lawsuit, filed by the conservator of Brown’s estate, “slanderous and meritless.”

Brown was found facedown in her tub in January 2015 and died in July. She was under the influence of marijuana, alcohol, a cocaine-related substance called benzoylecgonine, morphine and benzodiazepines, which are medications used for sedation or to treat anxiety, according to the medical examiner. It is not known whether the morphine was from heroin, the report said.

“Death was clearly not due to natural causes, but the medical examiner has not been able to determine whether death was due to intentional or accidental causes, and has therefore classified the manner of death as undetermined,” the Fulton County Medical Examiner in Georgia said in a statement.

The circumstances echoed the 2012 death of Brown’s famous mother, who drowned in a hotel bathtub in Beverly Hills, California. Cocaine abuse and heart disease contributed to Houston’s death at age 48, authorities said.

Bobby Brown said Friday would have been his daughter’s 23rd birthday.

“For news affiliates to seek and obtain my daughter’s autopsy report, before anyone has been brought to justice for her death, is mind blowing to me,” he said in a statement.