Although headlines proliferate of battles over wills that Gary Coleman may or may not have left behind, along with death photos that were taken of the “Diff’rent Strokes” actor while on his deathbed, there is still an official death investigation going on in Utah regarding Coleman’s cause of death. Santaquin Police detective Stan Eggen told Radar Online Thursday that, although “foul play” could not be ruled out, it could not as yet be considered in the young actor’s death either. Gary Coleman’s body was delivered to the Utah state medical examiner’s office, but an official cause of death report has not yet been issued.
“I really think he just passed out and hit his head, but we have to be as positive as we can,” Eggen said. When asked if Coleman may have been hit with a blunt object, the detective replied, “There’s no way to rule that out, but there’s no way to say he was either.”
But Dion Mial, Gary Coleman’s former manager and executor of his estate (if the 1999 naming him such stands), believes that his long-time friend died under suspicious circumstances. He told Radar Online: “I wholeheartedly believe there was foul play here.”
Detective Eggen said, “Foul play is not suspected… but we have to be careful. Until we’re absolutely positive on cause of death we have to keep the case open and anybody who calls us and has any information.”
Controversy has surrounded the falling incident that placed Gary Coleman in a Provo hospital on May 26 almost since it was announced he had been hospitalized. Suspicions arose from the reticence of Shannon Price, Coleman’s 24-year-old wife, and her family in regard to the accident, and the history of domestic abuse that existed between Coleman and Price. It grew worse when the 42-year-old actor slipped into a coma and was placed on life support — life support that was removed by order of Shannon Price only hours after it was inserted. And, it grew worse still when it was later learned that Shannon Price was no longer his wife when she made the decision (although the medical facility where Coleman died quickly issued a statement noting that Price had an Advanced Health Care Directive, signed by Coleman, that gave her legal right to make such a decision).
Gary Coleman died on May 28. Shannon Price’s actions after his death — granting interviews, taking and selling deathbed photos, making questionable statements — have only increased suspicions that something untoward may have occurred that precipitated Coleman’s fall and subsequent brain hemorrhage, the cause of his coma.
Two people who do not suspect foul play — nor are they pointing fingers of blame at Shannon Price — are Gary Coleman’s estranged parents, Willie and Sue Coleman, who had, at first, contested Shannon Price’s right to bury the actor in Utah. Appearing on the “Today Show” Friday, Willie Coleman told co-host Meredith Vieira, “We aren’t pointing any fingers, we have never pointed any fingers at Shannon,” he said. “It’s like this here: I figure that, OK, his body had come to the point where it had reached the pyramid of his sickness by having no kidneys. He was on dialysis; eventually that was going to lead to a shutdown. He had been on dialysis since he was 17 years old.”
Gary Coleman’s body now rests at Lake Hill Mortuary in Sandy, Utah. Thus far, reports have indicated he is to be cremated. The mortuary has gone to court for an adjudication as to what to do with the “Diff’rent Strokes” actor’s remains.
It is unclear when there will be an official ruling on cause of death in the Gary Coleman case.