Although an autopsy has been completed, the city Medical Examiner's Office will not rule on the cause of Julia Papazian Law's death until after reviewing results of toxicology tests that are pending, police said Tuesday.
"All we can confirm right now is that there were no obvious signs of trauma to her body," said Lt. John Stanford, a police spokesman.
Early Saturday morning, a maintenance worker found Law, a 26-year-old paralegal, face down in the bathtub of the condominium owned by her boss and boyfriend, defense lawyer A. Charles Peruto Jr.
Peruto, 58, had recently started dating Law, who would have turned 27 Tuesday.
Rumor and fact have circulated in the days after Law's death. But the questions will not be answered for several days at least - if then, Stanford said.
A few details have emerged.
Peruto, who was in Avalon when he learned of Law's death, rushed back to Philadelphia, distraught, said Richard L. DeSipio, a lawyer in Peruto's office and a close friend of Peruto's and Law's.
"He is heartbroken," DeSipio said.
Peruto had said that out of respect for Law, he cleaned up the bathroom and scoured the tub. That raised some eyebrows. But police said that Peruto was not permitted to enter his property until it had been thoroughly inspected by investigators and processed as a possible crime scene.
"No one is allowed to enter until after the crime-scene unit has completed its work," Stanford said.
Law's body was found by a maintenance worker who routinely came by on weekends when Peruto tended to be out of town, either at the Jersey Shore or in Miami. Peruto would leave a to-do list, DeSipio said.
Law's death has generated intense public interest and drawn attention from the national media, said DeSipio, who said he had fielded a call from Good Morning America.
The story is compelling: A young woman, known for her intelligence, wit, and beauty, is discovered under curious circumstances in her wealthy boyfriend's luxurious apartment. The boyfriend, twice her age, has made headlines for his flamboyant personal behavior and in his high-profile legal career, representing murderers, drug dealers, and occasionally, mob bosses.
Although the couple had been dating only a short time, Peruto has described his relationship with Law as profound. They spoke of a future together, friends said.
Peruto has commissioned a portrait of Law by an artist whose work she admired, DeSipio said. He said Peruto plans to place the work in the conference room at the law firm as a tribute.
At the office, in a brownstone near Fitler Square, Law's coworkers struggled to get their work done Tuesday. Peruto came in briefly, but left after about an hour. He and his colleagues are arranging a prayer service as a memorial.
Law's Facebook page was deluged with anguished messages from those who loved her. As one friend put it, "Speechless, sad, in shock."
In one of her last posts, Law wished her mother a happy birthday in mid-May.
"Today the best lady alive was born," she wrote. "The 1 who inspires me to wear clothes & accessories that aren't always black. who touches the world in ways I wish to do even a quarter of . . . always bandaged up my bruises . . . she's just a baby from the bronx & she's the Mama B & it is a national holiday!"
The media attention has weighed heavily on Law's family and friends, who are trying to grieve privately.
Law's family has asked Peruto and other members of the law firm not to attend the funeral.
"If you're there, there will be media there, and the focus will be on her death," DeSipio said he was told. "We want to bury our little girl."
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