Oscar-winning actor Robin Williams was found dead “with a belt secured around his neck, with the other end of the belt wedged between the closed closet door and door frame,” Marin County’s assistant chief deputy coroner Lt. Keith Boyd said Tuesday during a press conference in San Rafael, Calif.
Williams died Monday of an apparent suicide at his home in unincorporated Tiburon, Calif.
Boyd told reporters that Williams’ assistant found his body after becoming concerned “when he failed to respond to knocks on his bedroom door.” The assistant discovered Williams “clothed in a seated position,” Boyd said.
Boyd also noted that Williams had acute superficial wounds on the inside of his left wrist. “A pocket knife with a closed blade was located in close proximity to Mr. Williams,” Boyd said. “Dry red material was located on the blade which appeared consistent to dried blood.” Boyd added, noting that scientific tests would be conducted on the knife.
There was no indication that Williams “had been in a struggle or physical altercation prior to him being located deceased,” Boyd said. Williams was last seen alive by his wife at approximately 10:30 on Sunday night, when she retired to bed. It is not known when the actor retired to bed.
Williams’ wife left the home at approximately 10:30 a.m. the next morning, believing he was asleep. However, the actor’s assistant became concerned at 11:45 a.m. and found him, Boyd said.
Authorities received a 911 call at approximately 11:55 a.m. “The caller was distraught and indicated an apparent suicide due to a hanging had taken place and rigor mortis had set in,” Boyd (pictured below) said.
Williams was declared dead at 12:02 p.m Monday. Boyd declined to state whether a suicide note had been found.
A preliminary investigation indicated that Williams, who entered rehab in July, had recently been treated for depression, Boyd said.
The coroner is investigating if Williams may have had any drugs in his system at the time of his death, according to Boyd. The results of the toxicology tests won’t be available for two to six weeks, Boyd said.
While Williams’ preliminary cause of death is a suspected suicide due to asphyxia, Boyd said the actor’s final cause and manner of death will not be released until the investigation is concluded. Williams’ exact time of death had not yet been determined.
Funeral arrangements are still pending. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to the following charities — St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Challenged Athletes, Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco, Mohammed Ali Parkinson Foundation and the USO.
Anita Bennett contributed to this report.
Below is the full transcript from Tuesday’s press conference:
My name is Keith Boyd. I am a Lieutenant with the Marin County Sheriff’s Office and serve as the Assistant Chief Deputy Coroner overseeing the day to day operations of the Coroner Division. First I would like to extend condolences to the Williams’ family on behalf of the Sheriff’s Office before we begin. I have a prepared statement and ask you to hold your questions as will take them at the conclusion of my statement.
On August 11, 2014, at approximately 11:55 am, Marin County Communications received a 9-1-1 telephone call reporting a male adult had been located unconscious and not breathing inside his residence located at 95 St. Thomas Way in unincorporated Tiburon, CA. The caller was distraught and indicated an apparent suicide due to a hanging had taken place and rigor mortis had set in. The Sheriff’s Office, as well as the Tiburon Fire Department and Southern Marin Fire Protection District were dispatched to the incident with emergency personnel arriving on scene at 12:00 pm. The male subject, pronounced deceased by firefighters from the Tiburon Fire Department at 12:02 pm has been identified as Robin McLaurin Williams, a 63 year old resident of unincorporated Tiburon, CA.
Preliminary information developed during the investigation by Coroner Division personnel has revealed Mr. Williams had been seeking treatment for depression. Mr. Williams was last seen alive by his wife at approximately 10:30 pm on August 10, 2014 when she retired for the evening in a room in the house. It is unknown at this time when Mr. Williams’ retired for the evening in a bedroom in his home.
At approximately 10:30 am on August 11, 2014 Mr. Williams’ wife left the home believing Mr. Williams to still be asleep. Mr. Williams’ personal assistant became concerned at approximately 11:45 am when he failed to respond to knocks on his bedroom door. At that time the personal assistant was able to gain access to Mr. Williams’ bedroom and entered the bedroom to find Mr. Williams clothed in a seated position, unresponsive, and with a belt secured around his neck with the other end of the belt wedged between the closed closet door and door frame. His right shoulder area was touching the door with his body was perpendicular to the door and slightly suspended.
Mr. Williams was cool to the touch with rigor mortis present in all of his extremities and livor mortis positioned appropriately for the position he was located in. The inside of Mr. Williams’ left wrist had several acute superficial
transverse cuts. A pocket knife with a closed blade was located in close proximity to Mr. Williams. The pocket knife was examined and dry red material was located on the blade which appeared consistent to dried blood. It is unknown at this time if the dried red material is in fact blood or if it is Mr. Williams’ blood, but scientific testing will be conducted to evaluate its investigative value.
Mr. Williams was transported from the scene to the Napa County Sheriff’s Office Morgue by the Coroner Division pending a forensic examination which was conducted this morning prior to this press conference. The forensic examination, conducted by Dr. Joseph Cohen who is the Sheriff’s Office Chief Forensic Pathologist, did not reveal any injuries indicating Mr. Williams had been in a struggle or physical altercation prior to him being located deceased.
The preliminary results of the forensic examination revealed supporting physical signs that Mr. Williams life ended from asphyxia due to hanging. Toxicology testing will be conducted to determine if Mr. Williams had any chemical substances in his system at his time of death. Toxicology results will not be available for approximately 2 – 6 weeks while the testing is being performed.
Please note this is an active investigation into the cause, manner, and circumstances of Mr. Williams’ death. The final cause and manner of death will not be certified until the conclusion of the investigation which is several weeks away. When the investigation is concluded and our final results are ready for dissemination a press conference will be scheduled.