Tragic Details Found In Anissa Jones' Autopsy Report

Anissa Jones was a child actress most known for her role as Buffy in the sitcom "Family Affair." She was born on March 11, 1958, in Indiana to John Paul Jones and Mary Paula Jones. Her father, who was an engineer, got a job at the University of Southern California and at the Hughes Aircraft Company, so the family relocated to The Golden State. Jones enrolled in dance classes at 4 years old, and two years later, she starred in her first commercial, per Reel Reviews. Around that time, producers Henry Garson and Edmund Beloin were developing a new show titled "Family Affair," and they thought Jones would be perfect for the role of Buffy. 

"Family Affair" premiered on CBS in September 1966 and tells the story of Bill Davis (Brian Keith), who has to raise his dead brother's children — 15-year-old Cissy (Kathy Garver), and 5-year-old twins Buffy (Anissa Jones) and Jody (Johnny Whitaker). The show ran for five seasons from 1966 until 1970, per Outsider. Jones also worked on other projects and had guest appearances on talk shows, and everyone adored the beautiful and talented little girl. After the series was canceled, Jones wanted to change the direction her career was headed and decided that she wanted to act in movies. She auditioned for the role of Regan MacNeil in "The Exorcist," but Linda Blair won the part. She was also given a chance to audition for the character Iris Steensma in "Taxi Driver," but she never went, and the role went to Jodie Foster.

Anissa Jones' troubled teen years

When "Family Affair" ended, Anissa Jones' co-star Brian Keith approached the young girl to join him in a new sitcom titled "The Brian Keith Show." However, Jones wasn't interested in the opportunity. She felt that she was typecast as the adorable little girl when she played Buffy, which resulted in her not being chosen for other roles, such as the one in "The Exorcist." There were no roles she was interested in pursuing, so Jones decided to live a normal life away from the spotlight (via AmoMama) and enrolled at Westchester High School in Los Angeles. Jones' personal life wasn't the best either. Her parents divorced as she rose to stardom, and she lived with her father, who then passed away. After that, she moved in with her friend instead of living with her mother.

The events in her life caused her to rebel. In her early teen years, as reported by Outsider, she started shoplifting and often skipped school. She was arrested and spent a few months in a juvenile detention center. After being released, she was sent to live with her mother. However, she had a difficult time living on the straight and narrow, and she went back to shoplifting and using drugs. She eventually stopped going to school in 1975, per Groovy History. When she turned 18 years old in 1976, Jones finally had access to the salary she acquired from "Family Affair." Geoffrey Mark, who worked on documentaries, said, "She received a little less than $200,000, which she blew almost immediately. In four or five months," (via Closer Weekly).

Anissa Jones' untimely death

Anissa Jones' drug use intensified when she gained access to her wealth. On August 28, 1976, Jones went to the beach at Oceanside, California with her boyfriend — Allan Kovan — and a few of her friends to have a party. Her friends discovered her unresponsive, and they immediately called paramedics, but sadly, it was too late, and she was declared dead at the scene. She was only 18 years old. Steve Hanford, Jones' friend, said, "The night Anissa died was weird. She wasn't being very social. She and some other kids stayed in a bedroom taking angel dust and coke" (via Reel Reviews).

According to the autopsy report, several drugs were present in Jones' system at the time of her death, including, barbiturates, phencyclidine, cocaine, and Quaaludes. Her official cause of death was listed as "barbiturate, phencyclidine, cocaine and methaqualone poisoning," per Autopsy Files. However, Jones' family also blamed her doctor — Dr. Don Carlos Moshos — for her death. They said that Dr. Moshos illegally prescribed the drug Seconal to Jones, which contributed to her death. Per the New York Times, the doctor was charged with 11 felony counts of illegally prescribing powerful drugs, and Jones' family received $79,500 as compensation.

Many think that Jones' troubles started when she was very young and only escalated as she got older. Columnist Marilyn Beck wrote about Jones wherein she said, "She was a little girl whom other little girls envied, but who, in truth, experienced tremendous pressure during those years that should be reserved for the simple joys of childhood" (via Closer Weekly).

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).