A police investigation has been launched into the death of a Hong Kong socialite after it emerged she had undergone 13-hours of cosmetic surgery and may have been “psychotic” before she plunged naked to her death from the top floor of a Beverly Hills medical clinic.
The probe by detectives from the Beverly Hills Police Department comes as the family of 53-year-old jewellery designer Sandra d’Auriol spoke for the first time about the tragedy which they said “appears to be linked to a post-operative neurobehavioural disturbance”.
As questions grow over the circumstances surrounding d’Auriol’s death, Beverley Hills Police Department spokesman Lieutenant Lincoln Hoshino told the South China Morning Post: "I can confirm we are investigating the death of a 53-year-old woman.”
In their first comments since she died more than a week ago, d’Auriol’s family said in a statement that it was “devastated” but had been given strength to celebrate her legacy by the love and support they have received from around the globe’.
In a statement released through a public relations company, the family said: “Sandra’s fall appears to be linked to a postoperative neurobehavioral disturbance. We understand that throughout the psychotic incident, the Sandra we knew and loved for her calm, positive disposition never regained consciousness. We draw some comfort from that fact.”
The statement went on to say that d’Auriol’s daughters felt there should be awareness of the risks of post-operative psychosis when planning for surgery involving full anesthesia as it could help others avoid a similar tragedy.
“This is a devastating time for us as we mourn the loss of a beloved mother, wife, daughter and sister. The overwhelming support we are receiving from all corners of the globe also reminds us of how she touched so many lives. The grief of her friends and all that knew her matches our own. This outpouring of love and support gives us the strength needed to celebrate her legacy,” the statement said.
A children’s charity co-founded by the philanthropist said it had expected to see d’Auriol – who used to work for the company who make jewellery for the British royal family – back Hong Kong in March following her trip abroad.
The Nepal-based Child Welfare Scheme paid tribute to British-born d’Auriol, who has lived in Hong Kong for 30 years, saying they had lost a “friend and mentor”.
Zein Williams, a director of the charity, said d’Auriol left many achievements and accomplishments.
“She always wanted to leave the world in a better place,” Williams said.
Quoting the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office, CBS News reported that d’Auriol went to the top of the Camden Medical Arts building in Beverly Hills on January 22. Despite attempts by police to talk her down, she plunged to her death three hours later. She was naked when her body was found.
Born in India to British parents, d’Auriol, 53, moved to Hong Kong in 1983 and had been associated with CWS since 1999. Her jewellery, with a focus on jade, was exhibited in London, Paris, New York and Milan, with all the profits donated to children’s, women’s and environmental charities, including CWS.