NATIONAL CITY, Calif. - Sources tell Scripps sister station 10News that a woman who was found dead in a car in National City, south of San Diego early Tuesday is the half-sister of actress Drew Barrymore and daughter of actor John Barrymore.
The woman was found inside the car at about 6 a.m. Tuesday. The San Diego Medical Examiner's Office confirmed late Tuesday night that firefighters responded and found her dead.
Marta Lopez told 10News she was trying to leave for work, but a car was blocking her driveway on Hoover and 9th Street. She got out and walked over to the woman behind the wheel.
"You need help, you need help," she told her, but the woman did not respond.
Lopez said the seat was reclined and the woman had a SoBe energy drink between her legs.
Then, Lopez looked at her neck to see if she was breathing, but something was terribly wrong. Over on the passenger seat, there was another disturbing image: dozens of white pills scattered around. That is when Lopez called police.
"Her car was parked right here last night around midnight," said Oscar Sandoval, who saw the car blocking the driveway when he went out. "I thought she was sleeping or waiting for someone."
But several hours later at 6 a.m., he said her car still was there.
Sources said she was a North County resident. Late Tuesday, the Medical Examiner's Office told 10News that they have Jessica Barrymore's body, whose date of birth was listed as July 31, 1966 – the same as the actress' half-sister. The cause of death is unknown pending an autopsy, which has not yet been scheduled.
Jessica Barrymore would have turned 48 on Thursday. Sandoval feels sorry that she spent her last moments alive, alone in her car.
"It's crazy," he said. "It's sad to see that."
Barrymore worked at a Petco animal supply store, and her coworkers spoke of her fondly.
"Jessica was always a helpful person,” friend and co-worker Dawn Scott said. “If we had any problems she would help us work things out. She would always put people first... She was one awesome, helpful person and she's someone we're all going to miss."
"Jessica always had a positive attitude at work, great with customers, us and animals," said Dawn Vaughn, a former co-worker. "Awesome sense of humor and always had a smile for you, very generous in heart and spirit. This world lost a wonderful human being for sure.”