On August 25, the Virgin Islands Police Department released an update on the death of Jamie Cail – a former swimming champion who died on February 21, 2023. According to an autopsy report from the Medical Examiner’s Office, she died of accidental fentanyl intoxication with aspiration of gastric content.
The update comes six months after her death was confirmed by police in February. She was allegedly found by her boyfriend, who had left a local bar to check on Cail at their residence around midnight. She was lying on the floor – unresponsive – when he arrived and was immediately transported to a hospital.
With the help of a friend, her boyfriend carried her to his vehicle and took her to the Myrah Keating-Smith Clinic, where she was given CPR before being pronounced dead on arrival (D.O.A.) nearly two hours after arriving at the clinic. The name of her boyfriend has not yet been shared by the police department.
Jamie Cail was a successful swimmer in high school who won the California state championship in the 200-meter individual medley and the 500-meter freestyle. She went on to briefly swim at the University of Southern California (USC) before transferring to the University of Maine, where she lettered in 2000-01.
One of the more notable moments in her career was when she won a gold medal representing the United States at the 1997 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Fukuoka, Japan. She was a part of the 4×200-meter freestyle relay that consisted of Lindsay Benko, Ashley Whitney, and Jenny Thompson.
Cail was the third leg of the relay and ended up having the fastest time of her team with a 2:01.52 – Benko finished with a time of 2:01.81, Whitney had a 2:02.81, and Thompson had a 2:01.68. Together, they had a time of 8:07.82 – 1.03 seconds better than Canada and 6.10 seconds better than Australia.
She also had a silver medal in the 800m freestyle at the 1998-99 FINA Swimming World Cup in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She had a time of 8:43.25 – 10.00 seconds behind the gold medal finisher, Rachel Harris (Australia), and 4.47 seconds better than the bronze medal finisher, Poliana Okimoto Cintra (Brazil).
Family of Jamie Cail Disputes Accidental Cause of Death
While the medical examiner’s report rules the death of Jamie Cail as an accident due to fentanyl intoxication with aspiration of gastric content, the 42-year-old’s family has reason to believe that there is more to the story. In fact, they believe she was drugged and beaten after seeing the post-mortem photos.
“We know that Jamie did not ingest fentanyl intentionally. There is definitely foul play,” one of her cousins said to Insider in an interview last week. The photos, which were taken by a family liaison in March, were shared by the family, but Insider is declining to release them due to the grueling nature of what they show.
Cail allegedly had a heavily bruised left eye and a mark on her nose. “We have decided to release the photo because we need everybody to understand that Jamie was not a fentanyl user – that she had actually been beaten. Jamie’s face was smashed in, the top of her skull and her nose,” her cousin says.
One forensic pathologist acknowledged that the ‘trauma’ occurred before Jamie Cail died, but doesn’t necessarily mean she was beaten – arguing that the trauma could’ve occurred in a number of ways. Nonetheless, the family is speaking out because they don’t believe what authorities are putting out.
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“Jamie was not a fentanyl user or an opioid user of any kind. She did not do drugs,” her cousin continued – adding the family is ‘devastated’ that her name is being tarnished. “She was a national, international swimmer who deserves the honor of that because she was amazing and dedicated her life to that.”
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