The family of American swimming champion Jamie Cail has rejected the results of an autopsy that determined she died of an accidental fentanyl overdose.
Cail, 42, was found unresponsive on the floor of her home on the Virgin Islands in the early hours of 21 February. Local authorities said that Cail’s boyfriend transported her to the hospital, where she received CPR, but she died shortly after.
Last week, the Virgin Islands Police Department said in a statement that an autopsy by the medical examiner’s office had determined Cail died of an accidental fentanyl intoxication with aspiration of gastric content — meaning particles from her stomach had entered her lungs.
But her family has since refuted those results and alleged in an interview with Insider that pictures of Cail’s body taken by a family liaison showed the Pan Pacific gold medallist had unexplained bruises on her face and body.
“We know that Jamie did not ingest fentanyl intentionally. There is definitely foul play,” Cail’s cousin Jessica DeVries told the outlet. “Her face is bashed in. Did fentanyl do that to her?”
Pictures of Cail’s body shared with the outlet reportedly showed Cail’s left eye “heavily” bruised and a mark on her nose. Ms DeVries alleged that “somebody put their hands on Jamie.”
“We have decided to release the photo because we need everybody to understand that Jamie was not a fentanyl user — that she had actually been beaten,” Ms DeVries said. “Jamie’s face was smashed in, the top of her skull and her nose.”
Ms DeVries went on to insist Cail was not a fentanyl user.
“She was a national, international swimmer who deserves the honor of that because she was amazing and dedicated her life to that,” she added.
According to Virgin Islands police, Cail’s boyfriend had “left a local bar to check on his girlfriend at their residence” at around 12.08am on the night of her death. Upon his arrival, he “discovered his girlfriend on the floor”.
The boyfriend, whose name was withheld, rushed Cail to the Myrah Keating-Smith Clinic with the help of a friend. Cail then “succumbed to her ailment.”
The Independent has reached out to Virgin Islands police for comment.
Cail, originally from Claremont, New Hampshire, was a teenage swimming champion in the 1990s. She represented the US national B team at the FINA World Cup in Brazil and won a silver medal in the 800m freestyle event in 1998-99.
She won gold in 1997 at the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships.
Cail was reportedly a member of the University of Maine’s women’s swim team in the early 2000s.
The swimming star had worked at a coffee shop where she was cordial with people across the community, her friends said, according to local TV station WMUR.