Texas court grants unusual request: Irons’s family and lawyers will get 30 days to review autopsy results, prior to their public release next month
On May 19th in Dallas, state district judge Donald J. Cosby granted extension of a motion blocking the release of autopsy results for three-time world surfing champion Andy Irons, who died in a Grand Hyatt hotel room at the Dallas/Fort Worth airport on November 2, 2010.
Release of the report—which is public information—was initially delayed for six months last December. Irons’s widow, Lyndie, filed a petition to slow the release, arguing that the report’s contents could adversely effect the Andy Irons “brand,” which has considerable value even after his death.
The cause of Irons’s death is a mystery that has generated news interest all over the world. His family, along with his primary corporate sponsor, Billabong, said in November that the 32-year-old had “reportedly been battling with dengue fever.” But as Outside reported at the time, rumors and reports abounded that Irons had a long history of recreational drug use. During their investigation, police found generic forms of the prescription drugs Xanax and Ambien in Irons’s hotel room. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser cited a source in the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s office who said the prescription drug methadone was found in the room as well. A spokesperson for the Medical Examiner’s office denied this comment, but The Star-Advertiser stood by its report.
Before the latest delay, autopsy results were supposed to be made public on May 20th. Attorneys for Mrs. Irons acknowledged to the court that the autopsy was complete, but asked Judge Cosby to release the results only to Mrs. Irons and to delay public release so that she could have an opportunity to “review the report with her experts.” The petition states that Mrs. Irons believes the autopsy results will “contradict the rumors [of] a drug overdose.”
“[G]iven the media frenzy,” the petition says, “Plaintiff is concerned that technical, scientific aspects of the autopsy report will be misconstrued and misinterpreted. False and misleading reports on the content of the autopsy would cause Plaintiff irreparable harm in that it could greatly reduce the branding value of Mr. Irons’s company.”
Attorneys representing Mrs. Irons did not respond to Outside's requests for comment. A representative for the Tarrant County district attorney’s office said the office was unaware that the petition had been filed until it was granted—and that no parties had filed to oppose the additional delay.
Most likely, this will be the final slowdown. Ashley Fourt, the Tarrant County Assistant District Attorney—who represents the Tarrant County Medical Examiner in the case—told Outside that she won’t let future motions slip by. “I’m not going to continue to not oppose this forever,” she said. “It is public information.”
For more on the life and death of Andy Irons, check out Brad Melekian's story, Last Drop.