Robin Williams found hanged with a belt, cops say


by Associated Press

Posted on August 12, 2014 at 11:24 AM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 12 at 6:19 PM

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (AP) - Investigators in California said today Oscar-winning actor Robin Williams's death was a suicide by hanging: He was found dead in his bedroom, clothed, slightly suspended in a seated position with a leather belt around his neck, with one end wedged between a closet door and door frame.

At a press conference today, Lt. Keith Boyd, assistant chief deputy coroner for Marin County, Calif., said he was cold to the touch and rigor mortis had already set in.

Williams was found by his personal assistant, who broke in to his room Monday morning when he failed to respond to knocks. She was distraught in the 911 call and indicated Williams' death was a suicide by hanging.

Williams' wife last saw him at about 10:30 pm the night before; she left the house Monday around 10:30 am thinking he was still asleep in his room.

Neighbor Sandy Kleinman said yesterday that she saw his wife go out with the dog for a walk "in the morning."

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Boyd said some superficial cuts were found on the inside of Williams' left wrist, and a pocket knife was found nearby. It is being tested to determine if residue on the knife is blood and if it is Williams' blood.

"The preliminary, and I again say preliminary, result of the forensic examination reveals supporting signs that Mr Williams life ended from asphyxia due to hanging," Boyd said.

Boyd would not say whether a suicide note was found. Nor would he discuss medications; toxicology reports won't be available for several weeks, he said. But he did say Williams had recently sought treatment for depression.

Boyd said today's forensic examination, conducted by the Marin County Sheriff's Office chief forensic pathologist, "did not reveal any injuries indicating that Williams had been in a struggle or any altercation" prior to death.

The body is no longer in the county's custody but Boyd would not discuss funeral arrangements, saying they were up to the family. So far, the family, including Williams' widow, has pleaded for privacy.

That's going to be difficult given the worldwide interest in the story. Already, mourners are turning up on the quiet bayside street in Tiburon where Williams lived.

Such as fans Sabrina Hahnlein, 55, and her daughter Kathryn, 23, of San Diego, who found their way to his home to leave a bouquet of flowers and pay their respects. They loved Williams work so much they named their two dogs after his first big breakthrough: Mork and Mindy

The star was found dead at his home in Tiburon, Calif. Monday, leaving Hollywood and the comedian's many fans in a state of shock. Williams, 63, was found unconscious and not breathing at approximately noon local time, and was pronounced dead shortly after.

Williams' daughter, Zelda, 25, who is shown as a baby in the final post on the actor's Instagram account, tweeted early Tuesday morning, "I love you. I miss you. I'll try to keep looking up."

His wife, Susan Schneider, issued a brief statement on Monday: "This morning, I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings. I am utterly heartbroken."