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Montgomery County Coroner Continues Tests To Determine Cause Of Cardinal Bevilacqua’s Death

(The casket of Cardinal Bevilacqua being carried into the Cathedral Basilica of Ss. Peter and Paul, on Logan Circle.  Credit: Tim Jimenez)

(The casket of Cardinal Bevilacqua being carried into the Cathedral Basilica of Ss. Peter and Paul, on Logan Circle. Credit: Tim Jimenez)

Brad Segall Brad Segall
Brad Segall is the award-winning Suburban Bureau chief at KYW...
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By Brad Segall

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — The coroner of Montgomery County, Pa. says preliminary indications show prescribed medications in the system of the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, but he needs more time to determine the cause of death.

Coroner Walter Hofman wouldn’t reveal the specific drugs he identified, but he says he will now do more testing to determine whether the level of prescription medications in the Cardinal’s system matches the prescribed dosages.

Hofman expects that to take another week, calling the process “complicated” because the Cardinal’s body was already embalmed.

“Some results will be false positive,” Hofman explains, “meaning that the numbers are high but they’re not really high or they are low but they’re not really low but they’ve been adulterated by the presence of embalming fluid.”

Bevilacqua died in late January at the age of 88 (see related story). He had been suffering from cancer and dementia. His death came one day after a Philadelphia judge ruled again that he could be called to testify at a child sex abuse trial (see related story).

Less than two weeks later, Montgomery County DA Risa Ferman called the timing of the death “peculiar,” and suggested to Hofman that he may want to examine the body (see previous story).

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