The family of ex-swim champ Jamie Cail, who died of an alleged fentanyl overdose in the US Virgin Islands, claims she had been beaten — and that her death was not an accident.
Local police have said the 42-year-old woman, who originally hails from New Hampshire, allegedly died of a “fentanyl intoxication with aspiration of gastric content,” meaning particles from her stomach entered her lungs.
But Cail’s family disputes the finding that her death was “accidental.”
“We know that Jamie did not ingest fentanyl intentionally. There is definitely foul play,” Jessica DeVries, who identified herself as a cousin and a family rep, told Insider.
The family shared graphic post-mortem photos of Cail’s body with the news outlet that show her left eye apparently heavily bruised and a mark on her nose.
“Her face is bashed in. Did fentanyl do that to her?” Devries told Insider. “Jamie’s face was smashed in, the top of her skull and her nose.”
She said the family “decided to release the photo because we need everybody to understand that Jamie was not a fentanyl user — that she had actually been beaten.”
Devries ripped the official finding as an “atrocity,” insisting that the photos taken of Cail’s body by a family liaison in March after the autopsy shows that “somebody put their hands on Jamie.”
Virgin Islands police, which cited an Aug. 22 autopsy, and the medical examiner’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment by Insider.
Former New York City chief medical examiner Michael Baden told the outlet that the photos show “trauma” that occurred before Cail died, but said it was not definitive “evidence of a beating or a cause of death.”The injuries could have resulted from “a blow to the eye or a blow to the scalp” and “could have happened in a number of different ways,” the forensic pathologist told the outlet.
Police cited an Aug. 22 autopsy report from the Virgin Islands’ medical examiner.
Cail’s boyfriend, who has not been identified, found her on the floor of their home on Feb. 21 after he got back from a bar around midnight, according to police.
He and a friend took her to Myrah Keating-Smith Community Health Center but she could not be saved.
“We want transparency and we want justice,” DeVries told Insider, adding that the family feels “completely failed” by police.
“Jamie was not a fentanyl user or an opioid user of any kind. She did not do drugs,” she said. “She was a national, international swimmer who deserves the honor of that because she was amazing and dedicated her life to that.”
Cail won a gold medal in the 800 free relay as part of the US team at the 1997 Pan Pacific Championships.
During the 1998-99 Swimming World Cup in Brazil, she took home a silver in the 800 free as a member of the US Swimming National B Team.
Cail also won the California high school championship in the 200-meter individual medley and the 500 free. She also swam at the University of Southern California and the University of Maine
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