Officials to Exhume Body of ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’ Co-star

 Jason Kempin/Getty Images

What caused the October death of A.J. Jewell, the ex-fiance of Real Housewives of Atlanta star Kandi Burruss? After Jewell's relatives protested the conclusions of a medical examiner, Georgia authorities have agreed to exhume his body for a second autopsy, CNN reports.

Jewell died at age 34 on Oct. 2 following an altercation at an Atlanta strip club; another man involved in the fight, Frederick Richardson, was arrested for voluntary manslaughter.

Police initially concluded that Jewell died of blunt force trauma to the head — but a medical examiner later stated that sickle cell disease was another fatal factor.

Counters Jewell's father, the Rev. A.B. Jewell Sr.: "I want the public to know my son did not have sickle cell disease."

Now that an exhumation has been authorized, he adds, "I hope this next autopsy will prove that my son was murdered."

Markel Hutchins, a rep for Jewell's family, told CNN that Jewell's celebrity from Housewives may have even hindered the investigation into his death.

"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," Hutchins said.

"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," the rep added.

On the second season of Real Housewives of Atlanta, Burruss and Jewell struggled with her mother, who disapproved of the relationship. They broke off their engagement after filming concluded. Burruss said in a statement at the time that she was "devastated" by his death, noting, "I wish you all had gotten to know the AJ we all knew and loved."

When approached Monday by Usmagazine.com, Burruss had no comment about this new development.

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