Attorney Richard Sharpstein's Death Ruled A Suicide

, Daily Business Review

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Richard Sharpstein

The death of prominent Miami attorney Richard Sharpstein has been ruled a suicide by the Miami-Dade County medical examiner and investigators, a spokesman for the City of Miami Beach police department said late Wednesday.

   “The manner in which he died is being classified as a suicide,” police spokesman Bobby Hernandez said in a statement. “The method was a drowning.”

    He said the conclusion “was based on evidence on the scene as well as statements made by those that were close to him to investigators.”

Earlier Wednesday, Sharpstein’s former wife, appellate attorney Janice Sharpstein, said she heard from several law enforcement sources that preliminary findings pointed to a heart attack as the cause of death. The couple divorced Dec. 2 after 35 years of marriage.

    But Hernandez said that an investigator for the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner Department and detectives concluded that “Mr. Sharpstein did not die of a heart attack.”

    “There were no physical signs there was a struggle,” Hernandez said. “He was under the influence of some type of sedative and slipped into an unconscious state. We also interviewed family and close friends before coming to this conclusion.”

    A source familiar with the investigation said a note was addressed to loved ones. Its contents were not disclosed.

An initial police report said Sharpstein, 63, was found in a bathtub by his housekeeper at his Miami Beach condominium at 10 a.m. Tuesday. The body was found submerged in a foot of water. An online record of the  medical examiner’s case file lists the time of death as 10:10 a.m.

On Tuesday, Hernandez said “we are not investigating for suicide” and that investigators were awaiting the results of a toxicology report and the outcome of conversations with family members before reaching any conclusions. The toxicology report is not expected to be completed for six to eight weeks.  

Richard Sharpstein’s funeral will be held at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Temple Beth Shalom, 4144 Chase Ave., Miami Beach.

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