Whitney Houston case: Despite cocaine link, investigation is ending
Coroner's officials said they have no immediate plans to investigate further the death of Whitney Houston, even though they found she used cocaine shortly before her death.
Houston's death has been listed as an accident, the officials said, and they plan to close the case once a final autopsy report is completed.
Houston, 48, appears to have used cocaine "in the time period just immediately prior to her collapse in the bathtub at the hotel," said L.A. County Chief Coroner Craig Harvey.
The singer was determined to have accidentally drowned Feb. 11 following an apparent heart episode, with cocaine as a contributing factor.
Officials would not say how much cocaine was in her system. But Harvey, the coroner's operations chief, said the toxicology findings "suggested chronic usage" of the drug.
David Campbell, a retired captain for the coroner's office, said a heart condition is often linked to blockages of blood flow to the heart. Use of cocaine and other narcotics would intensify the dangers, he said.
Cocaine can constrict blood vessels and reduce blood flow, he said.
But the coroner's office concluded that those drugs did not contribute to her death. A law enforcement source said no cocaine was found in Houston's room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel but that bottles of various medications were recovered.
Authorities had requested more information about those prescriptions. But that part of the probe ended when they determined the prescription drugs did not play a role in her death.
Houston was found submerged in the bathtub of her hotel room. Beverly Hills Fire Department paramedics performed CPR on the singer for about 20 minutes before pronouncing her dead.
-- Richard Winton
Photo: Whitney Houston strikes a pose during her performance at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on April 10, 2000. Credit: Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press