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Body of 'Housewives' ex-fiancé to be exhumed

By Patty Lane, CNN
After ex-fiancé A.J. Jewell's death, "Real Housewives of Atlanta" star Kandi Burruss said she was devastated.
After ex-fiancé A.J. Jewell's death, "Real Housewives of Atlanta" star Kandi Burruss said she was devastated.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Spokesman Markel Hutchins: "There were other things that led up to A.J.'s death"
  • A.J. Jewell was fiancé of Kandi Burruss of "The Real Housewives of Atlanta"
  • Police: Jewell died from blunt force trauma; medical examiner says sickle cell played role

Atlanta, Georgia (CNN) -- Georgia officials have agreed to exhume the body of the ex-fiancé of a "Real Housewives of Atlanta" cast member to get a second look at what may have caused his death.

A.J. Jewell died after a fight with another man in the parking lot of an Atlanta strip club in October, police said.

Fredrick Richardson was arrested on a charge of voluntary manslaughter.

Police originally said Jewell died from blunt force trauma, but a medical examiner reported that sickle cell disease also contributed to his death.

Relatives pushed for the exhumation and a second autopsy, saying Jewell did not have sickle cell and they believe there were other circumstances leading to his death.

"Whenever a family has to exhume the body of a loved one, it's a difficult, difficult decision to make," family spokesman Markel Hutchins said. "But I think it displays a great deal of courage and commitment on the part of this family toward truth and justice."

Jewell's father, the Rev. A.B. Jewell Sr., said family members cannot have closure until they know what happened.

I hope this next autopsy will prove that my son was murdered.
--The Rev. A.B. Jewell Sr., father of A.J. Jewell
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"I want the public to know my son did not have sickle cell disease, and I hope this next autopsy will prove that my son was murdered," he said.

A.J. Jewell was the fiancé of Kandi Burruss, the newest cast member of the Bravo hit reality show "The Real Housewives of Atlanta."

In a statement after Jewell's death, Burruss said she was devastated and had spoken to him two hours before he was rushed to the hospital.

Hutchins said family members believe Jewell's role on the show put up roadblocks for them early in the investigation. "It's almost as if A.J. and his family were being penalized because of his high-profile nature and because of his celebrity lifestyle," he said.

He said they hope the second autopsy will show sickle cell was not a factor and recent witness statements will shed light on the night Jewell died.

"There were other things that led up to A.J.'s death, and there are other things that we believe were criminal, that happened after A.J.'s death," Hutchins said but declined to elaborate.

The man's six children are also looking for answers.

"They miss their father," Jewell said. "We as a family are taking on the responsibility and trying to do what we can do to assure our support in helping them to be able to move forward with their lives."

It should take about two weeks to get results from the second autopsy, Hutchins said.

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