Actor Carradine's death not suicide: expert


June 18, 2010 Updated Jun 12, 2009 at 1:10 AM EDT

A forensics expert hired by actor David Carradine's family has said the "Kill Bill" star did not commit suicide, but stressed that a final cause of death was still to be determined.

Forensic pathologist Michael Baden said initial investigations into the death of the 72-year-old actor, found hanging in a Bangkok hotel room last week, indicated he had not killed himself.

"The autopsy findings and the evidence thus far available demonstrate that Mr Carradine's death was not the result of suicide," Baden said in a statement released by a spokesman for the Carradine family.

"However, to reach a final determination as to the cause and the manner of death we must wait for further information from Thailand as to the scene findings and the completion of the crime laboratory and toxicology studies that are still being performed."

Baden, who has appeared as an expert defense witness in several high-profile US murder trials, most notably those of American football star O.J. Simpson and music producer Phil Spector, had carried out a second autopsy on Carradine.

Thai police have said they suspect Carradine died from a sex act that went wrong after his body was discovered on June 4 hanging from a wardrobe rail in a Bangkok hotel room, naked and with ropes attached to his neck and penis.

Carradine, star of 1970s TV series "Kung Fu" and the hit "Kill Bill" movies, was in the Thai capital to shoot a film called "Stretch."

An initial autopsy report revealed that the actor died from a sudden lack of oxygen and his body showed no signs of struggle.

A Thai forensic expert told AFP the death appeared to have been caused by auto-erotic asphyxiation, the practice of intentionally cutting off oxygen to the brain for sexual arousal.

Family and friends of Carradine have all rejected suggestions the actor was suicidal. The actor's brother Keith Carradine thanked fans for messages of support received since news of the death broke.

"First of all, we would like to thank everyone for their heartfelt expressions of love and sympathy for what we are going through," Carradine said in a statement Thursday.

"This is a devastating loss for our family and we greatly appreciate the compassion pouring in from all over the world.

"We wish to express our gratitude to the government of Thailand and the Lumpini Police Station in Bangkok for their support and cooperation and to the US Department of State for their assistance."

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