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Police Hint at Drugs in Death of NBC Official

Times Staff Writer

The death of NBC executive Jay Michelis, who died last weekend at his Pasadena home, is being called “a possible drug overdose” by Pasadena police.

Drug paraphernalia and white powder “which resembled cocaine” were found near Michelis’ body, Lt. Greg Henderson, a spokesman for the Pasadena Police Department, said Thursday.

Although final results of an autopsy by the Los Angeles County coroner’s office were not immediately available, spokeswoman Pat Smith said the death of Michelis, 50, was “ruled a natural coronary,” or heart attack.

“The reason for the decision is that he had bad coronary artery disease with a fresh blood clot,” she said. “This is what killed him.”

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Smith added that results of a toxicological examination of the body, which could detect any traces of drugs in the body, may not be available until next week.

Michelis, who worked for NBC for 30 years, was West Coast vice president for corporate and media relations.

Michelis’s body was discovered in bed Saturday morning by the NBC executive’s house man, according to a three-page police injury and death report. The report said that death occurred sometime between 10:45 p.m. Friday and shortly before noon on Saturday.

According to the report, small quantities “resembling powder cocaine” were found on a mirror along with a rolled-up $1 bill on a coffee table near the bed. Police spokesman Henderson noted that these items are commonly used to sniff cocaine.

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In addition, the police report said, a “small paper bindle with cocaine” was discovered in a wooden box, also in the second-floor bedroom.

According to the police report, John Gudilias, who described himself as a friend of Michelis, said “he believed the victim had a cocaine problem but he did not talk much about it.”


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