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February 24, 2012

Experts: New Autopsy Needed In Reality Show Producer Death

The mystery surrounding the death of reality show producer Jeff Rice deepens, as even basic questions about the method of his demise remain unclear.Today's Michelle Kosinski summed up the case thus far, noting that Rice, who has worked on "Amazing Race," among other shows, was found in the Kampala Serena Hotel in Uganda on Saturday with his assistant (who is now in critical condition and in a coma). Reports indicate that large amounts of cocaine were found in Rice's stomach, and an initial autopsy suggests he may have choked.
"Justice with Judge Jeanine" host and former district attorney Jeanine Pirro and TODAY legal correspondent Savannah Guthrie discussed the case in the studio. Noted Guthrie, "There are a lot of oddities about this case."
But it hasn't helped explain just what led up to his death; speculation has ranged from a botched robbery attempt to poisoning, and now to a forced drug overdose, said Kosinski, ending with: "There are very few known facts at this point.

Added Pirro, "I had a case where a woman died of a cocaine overdose, they ruled it was a suicide. I reopened the case, got a conviction for murder. She was forced to ingest cocaine. ... You should see trace amounts in the nasal passages if there's an overdose. This seems to be the kind of case where we need to do another autopsy."
Guthrie agreed: "This is all happening in a foreign country, there are language barriers, it's a different system. Perhaps the best recourse for the family if they are able to do it is get a private autopsy to get some of these questions answered."



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