Wowzers. How’s this for a way to start the day?: Evidence has just emerged that Brittany Murphy’s tragic death at the age of 32 may not have been due to illness or drugs as previously determined. She might, in fact, have been poisoned.
The Clueless star passed away on December 20, 2009. That day, the LA Fire Department got a call for “a medical request” at the Hollywood Hills home Brittany and her husband, Simon Monjack, shared. Brittany had collapsed in the bathroom; firefighters attempted to resuscitate her without success before transporting her to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. She was pronounced dead on arrival after going into cardiac arrest.
The circumstances were a little bit suspicious, though; shortly after her death, the assistant chief coroner said that it appeared to be natural, but after an autopsy was performed, the cause of death on her death certificate was listed as “deferred.” Several months later, the LA County coroner stated that the cause of death was pneumonia combined with iron-deficiency and drugs (namely, hydrocodone, acetaminophen, L-methamphetamine and chlorpheniramine). It was ruled as accidental.
And somehow the ruling stuck, even after Brittany’s widower was found dead the following May, just five months after his wife’s death, at the same Hollywood Hills home where Brittany had collapsed. Simon’s cause of death was also ruled as acute pneumonia and severe anemia; but although the LA County Department of Health considered the possibility of toxic mold playing a part in one or both deaths, the assistant chief coroner stated there was no indication that mold was a factor.
But now there’s this: Brittany’s father, Angelo Bertolotti, sued the LA Coroner’s Office and the LAPD in an effort to get further toxicology reports done, claiming that the cause of the actress’ death was incorrectly ruled. The lawsuit was dismissed—but not before Angelo got a hold of the release of Brittany’s hair, blood, and tissue samples for independent testing. He sent them to the Carlson Company in Colorado—and the results that came back showed that abnormally high amounts of ten heavy metals were present.
“These types of heavy metals/toxic elements are commonly found in rat poison, pesticides, insecticides, etc.,” Angelo wrote in an email to the Huffington Post. “Since neither Brittany nor Simon would have willingly consumed any such substances, the lab concluded that they may have been introduced by a third party with criminal intent.”
In short: Brittany and Simon may very well have been poisoned.
So where do we go from here? Said Angelo to the NY Daily News, “We would like the investigation opened again to discover who did it. So as not to jeopardize the new investigation, I can’t say who I suspect as of yet.” Unfortunately, however, the coroner’s office told HuffPo, “The Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner has no plans to reopen our inquiry into the deaths. We stand by our original reports. We have not been presented any [third] party lab results for analysis, so we are unable to comment on publicized reports of private lab tests.”
I realize that reopening old cases is time-consuming and costly, but I kind of wish they were doing it anyway—if anything just to give Brittany’s family some closure.
Tell us: What do you think? Could foul play have been involved?
Lucia Peters is BettyConfidential’s senior editor. Tweet me! @luciapeters