"It looks like it was a drug misadventure. Mixing alcohol and pills," John Barrymore, 60, told the New York Daily News, likening his sibling's death to that of actor Heath Ledger. "I seriously doubt she took her own life."
Indeed, friends had described her to a San Diego-area news program Wednesday as a positive woman with a great sense of humor, who "put people first" and "always had a smile for you."
Jessica Barrymore, who would have been 48 on Thursday, was found unresponsive in a car in National City on Thursday morning. Fire officials pronounced her dead on the scene, according to the San Diego U-T.
A nonalcoholic drink was found between her legs and unidentified white pills were scattered on the passenger seat, 10News had reported Wednesday.
Police told the U-T that an empty alcohol bottle had been found on the scene but did not confirm the presence of pills. While foul play was not suspected, the Petco employee's cause of death was unknown pending an autopsy and toxicology tests, police said.
John Barrymore told the Daily News that there were a couple of bags of meth and a variety of pills in the car, but said he doubted his sister would have taken her own life.
The half-siblings, who shared the same father, met only twice in recent years, according to the paper -- once right before father John Drew Barrymore died and once to scatter his ashes. Drew Barrymore learned about Jessica and half-brother John at a young age, when her father showed her a picture of her older sibs, a "close family friend" told the Daily Mail.
Jessica Barrymore had recently lost a significant amount of weight rather quickly, the UK paper said, citing Dorothy Steinbeck, a woman it called her "surrogate mother."
Jessica Barrymore had been sober for eight years, the Mail said, noting that according to public records she'd admitted to drug trafficking in New Mexico in 1996. A friend, Cara Dysert, told Radar Online that present-day Jessica was into holistic health. "I do not think she was into drugs," Dysert told the website.
"Although I only met [Jessica Barrymore] briefly, I wish her and her loved ones as much peace as possible," actress Drew Barrymore said in a statement Wednesday.