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Coroner: Toxicology results in Chyna autopsy could take months

Chyna

The Los Angeles County coroner’s office is investigating the death of former pro wrestler Chyna, shown in 2003.  It could be months before toxicology test results determine the cause of death.

(Kevork Djansezian / Associated Press)

An autopsy will be performed on the wrestler Chyna in the next few days, however it will be months before toxicology test results can determine whether she died of a suspected drug overdose, the Los Angeles County coroner’s office said Friday.

Ed Winter, a spokesman for the coroner’s office, said police initially reported the wrestler’s death as a possible overdose. The World Wrestling Entertainment star, whose real name was Joan Marie Laurer, had some prescription medication at her Redondo Beach apartment, “but not a lot,” Winter said.  

Winter said on Friday that the possible overdose was likely reported because of the 46-year-old’s history of drug abuse and interviews with neighbors.

“Everybody seemed to know she had problems, but they didn’t know to what extent,” Winter said.

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The time and date of Chyna’s death had not yet been determined, Winter said. The last time anybody had any contact with her was on Sunday, he said.

According to a civil grand jury report released Thursday, the L.A. County coroner’s office has seen a growing backlog of autopsies and toxicology reports, due to underfunding.   

Highlighting the Los Angeles County backlog was news that an autopsy on the performer Prince -- who was found dead in his home Thursday -- would begin Friday morning, according to the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office in Anoka, Minn.

“Gathering the results will take several days and the results of a full toxicology scan could likely take weeks,” the office said in a release.

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Winter said it was frustrating to have people compare the speed of Prince’s autopsy to Chyna’s. 

“I’m going to get 50 calls today asking why Minnesota can have the results so fast and we can’t,” Winter said.

Winter said it would take months to get the full toxicology results in Chyna’s autopsy and that his office would not discuss any preliminary toxicology screenings because they often don’t paint the full picture.

He noted that the Marin County coroner was criticized for releasing details on the condition of actor Robin Williams’ body just a day after his death and prior to final autopsy results. 

Redondo Beach police officers found Chyna’s body on a bed in her residence on Wednesday afternoon, after receiving a call from her friend about a woman not breathing. The friend told police that Chyna had not answered her phone in a few days.

There were no signs of foul play, police said.

Three days before her body was found, Chyna posted a rambling and sometimes incoherent video on YouTube. In the 13-minute video, she wears headphones and feathers in her hair and speaks in slurred language as she goes through her morning routine and talks about the vitamins she’s taking.

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In the video, she said she had friends coming over later in the day.

Chyna posted several pictures on her Instagram account in recent days in which she had a black eye.

She posted a smiling selfie on Sunday that appeared to be in her bedroom.

“Happy Sunday my lovelies I hope you all enjoy your day with your family,” she wrote. “Be Happy, Love each other, and Live in Peace!”

hailey.branson@latimes.com

Twitter: @haileybranson

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