Cail, 42, was found lying on the floor of the house she shared with her boyfriend in the early hours of 21 February. Her partner had “left a local bar to check on his girlfriend at their residence” at around 12.08am, police said at the time.
Upon his arrival, he “discovered his girlfriend on the floor”. The boyfriend, whose name was withheld, rushed the Pan Pacific gold medallist to the Myrah Keating-Smith Clinic with the help of a friend.
Cail “succumbed to her ailment”, according to police, despite being administered CPR at the clinic.
Now, months after her mysterious death, the Virgin Islands police department on Sunday said she had died of “fentanyl intoxication with aspiration of gastric content”, which means particles from her stomach had entered her lungs.
The police cited a 22 August autopsy report from the US Virgin Islands office of medical examiner.
Cail, originally from Claremont, New Hampshire, was a teenage swimming champion in the 1990s. She represented the US national B team at the FINA World Cup in Brazil and won a silver medal in the 800m freestyle event in 1998-99.
She won gold in 1997 at the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships.
Cail was reportedly a member of the University of Maine’s women’s swim team in the early 2000s.
The swimming star had worked at a coffee shop where she was cordial with people across the community, her friends said, according to local TV station WMUR.
Over the past few years, fentanyl has significantly taken over the drug supply in the US, leading to an increase in deaths attributed to its usage. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were more than 100,000 drug overdose deaths in 2021 and many of these were the result of fentanyl.
The synthetic opioid is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine, according to the CDC. “It is a major contributor to fatal and nonfatal overdoses in the US,” says the agency’s website.
“Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are the most common drugs involved in overdose deaths,” it further says.
“Even in small doses, it can be deadly.”
Over 150 people die every day from overdoses related to synthetic opioids like fentanyl, according to the CDC.