The assistant to "Amazing Race" producer Jeff Rice, who Uganda police say died of a cocaine overdose, may not be allowed to leave the country because she also tested positive for cocaine, police told ABC News today.
Katheryne Fuller, who was in Kampala, Uganda, to help Rice film a documentary, was found unconscious on a hotel balcony next to Rice last Friday. Both were rushed to a hospital where Rice was declared dead.
"Ms. Fuller is slowly recovering, and when she is recovered enough we will be able to talk to her and find out more about what happened," Uganda Police Force spokesman Asuman Mugenyi said. "She is not able to speak. Although she is responding to the treatment, she is not yet available to explain what transpired."
Fuller's father is with her and hoping to take her home to South Africa for medical treatment, but Mugenyi indicated Fuller may not be allowed to go home soon.
Because she tested positive for cocaine, she likely broke Uganda's drug laws, Mugenyi told ABC News. He said the police were waiting for permission from Interpol to release Fuller to go back to South Africa, and also to release Rice's body to his family in South Africa.
According to Ugandan police, the two are believed to have voluntarily ingested the substance.
"There was no struggle. These were two people in their room and there was not a single sign of a struggle. Not even a single bruise on Rice's body," Mugenyi said.
Mugenyi dismissed earlier reports that Rice might have been poisoned after a run-in with local "thugs." Many friends find it hard to believe that both he and Fuller could have simply overdosed.
Sources said Rice and Fuller may have been working on an investigative documentary and fear they might have been targeted. However, Uganda Police say they were hired by the Minnesota-based Starkey Hearing Foundation to shoot a documentary about the work of a non-profit in Uganda that provides hearing aids to people who can't afford them.
"I was shocked," Josh Gates, a friend of Rice's told ABC News. "Jeff was someone who was terrific at his job. I don't know exactly what to think about what happened to Jeff. I hear conflicting reports coming out of the region."
Ugandan police said they have now ruled out food or drink poisoning.
"This is a very wrong account," Mugenyi said. "Very wrong."
'Amazing Race' Producer's Death: Police Await Assistant's Recovery to Gain More Info
"For him to pass away so young so suddenly is alarming, obviously, but also is surprising because he was someone who was really able to take care of himself in the field. He was excellent at what he did," Gates added.
Rice was a veteran producer who worked on the latest season of the hit reality series "The Amazing Race" and the Emmy-nominated Animal Planet series "Whale Wars." In addition to raising two young kids, Rice and his wife, Sally Blackman, operated a television and film production company called SB Productions in Durban, South Africa.
Katheryne Fuller's father Stuart Fuller confirmed she and Rice were shooting a documentary, and said other crew members who were with them should know more about what sickened them. Stuart Fuller said he is now with his daughter at the hospital in Kampala.
"She is OK. We are trying to get her back to South Africa. She needs medical attention that they can't do here," he said.
According to a friend of the family, Fuller's wallet and passport are missing from the hotel room, complicating the efforts to have her moved back to South Africa.