Woman who collapsed at Lexington strip club, died had heroin in her system, coroner says

Jail mug shot of Clyde Sexton.
Jail mug shot of Clyde Sexton.

A woman who allegedly was sexually abused while unconscious at a Lexington strip club had heroin in her system, according to a coroner's report.

But the death certificate, obtained by the Herald-Leader, indicates there is a question whether Melissa Kline-Smiley, 37, died July 29 of an overdose or asphyxia. About three dozen people have died of heroin-related overdoses in Lexington in 2013.

Kline-Smiley's death certificate showed she died of a lack of oxygen to her brain and that her death was consistent with "acute effects" of heroin, the painkiller hydrocodone and clonazepam, an anti-anxiety drug and muscle relaxant. The death certificate also said that an "asphyxial component leading to death (compression of chest, obstruction of airway)" can't be ruled out.

Documents do not elaborate on how the compression of chest or obstruction of airway could have occurred. The document said the manner of death was undetermined, meaning it was not clear whether her death was an accident or a homicide.

Fayette County Coroner Gary Ginn said no new information had developed in the case since the death certificate was signed Sept. 12.

Fayette Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Larson said Monday he could not comment on the active case.

Kline-Smiley's family members could not immediately be reached for comment.

Lexington police have charged Clyde Wesley Sexton, 71, with first-degree sexual abuse. Police say Kline-Smiley collapsed July 25 at Fillies Gentleman's Club on Winchester Road. She had been working on a painting job with Sexton when she collapsed.

Sexton allegedly performed various sexual acts on her, according to police and court documents. He was described in court documents as a handyman at the club and a friend of Kline-Smiley.

Police have said help was not summoned until 20 to 30 minutes after Kline-Smiley fell unconscious. She was placed on life support at University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital.

Sexton has pleaded not guilty, and the case will be reviewed by a Fayette County grand jury.

Kline-Smiley, a mother of three, was known as a hard worker who enjoyed arranging flowers and took pride in the fact that she was a female welder, according to her obituary.

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