Smith Autopsy Inconclusive

Police keep investigation of singer-songwriter's death open

December 31, 2003 12:00 AM ET

Two months after Elliott Smith's death, the Los Angeles coroner's office said that it could not conclusively confirm that the fatal knife wound to his chest was self inflicted.

"The trauma that he sustained could have been inflicted by him or by another and the coroner has not been able to make a determination," a spokesman for the coroner said.

Smith, 34, was found by his live-in girlfriend at their Los Angeles apartment on October 21st with a stab wound in his chest. He was rushed to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. The Los Angeles Police department listed the death as a suicide.

Initial reports claimed Smith died of a single trauma, but the coroner found that he suffered "two penetrating stab wounds" to the chest. Though Smith had struggled with addiction for several years, the coroner's investigation turned up no signs of illegal or controlled substances in his system.

According to the LAPD, Smith's death remains an open investigation.

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Song Stories

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Mickey Newbury | 1969

A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

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