Case grows stranger with claims of government surveillance
Brittany Murphy‘s father believes she was murdered — he just doesn't know who did it.
Nearly four years after the 32-year-old “Clueless” actress died of what were found to be natural causes, her father, Angelo Bertolotti, released independent lab results he says prove she was poisoned. He told TheWrap Tuesday he has sent the results to the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office and the LAPD in hopes of having the case reopened.
“I want the investigation to find out who murdered my daughter,” he told TheWrap.
Bertolotti, 87, was fighting laryngitis and is hard of hearing, said Julia Davis, a family friend who is helping him seek a fresh investigation.
Davis’ involvement adds a new wrinkle to an already bizarre case. She says she is a former whistleblower against the Department of Homeland Security, and that Murphy and Murphy's husband, who died five months after her, were under government surveillance for supporting whistleblowing.
At least one news account has suggested Davis blames the government for killing Murphy and her husband, Simon Monjack. But Davis told TheWrap she never said she blamed the government, and that the news report was trying “to make it sensational.”
She acknowledged the story of a father trying to prove his actress daughter was poisoned sounds wild to begin with.
“This is one of those tangled cases where things appear insane, but those are just the facts,” she said.
Davis met Murphy when the actress was a child, she said, because her husband works in the film industry. In a joint telephone interview Tuesday, she occasionally told Bertolotti what to say, noting his apparent trouble hearing over a speakerphone.
But talking briefly one-on-one, he sounded sure of what he wanted the coroner's office to do.
“To investigate,” he said.
Both he and Davis declined to say who they think may have killed Murphy and Monjack.
“We would rather not speculate,” Davis said. “We have a few different theories as to who it could have been but we're asking the coroner and the LAPD to reopen the investigation.”
The Los Angeles County Coroner's Office concluded years ago that Murphy and Monjack died of pneumonia and anemia.
The office told TheWrap Tuesday it might investigate further if Bertolotti would share results from the lab he hired to test his daughter's hair for poison. Though Bertolotti said he sent them Friday, Chief Coroner Investigator Craig Harvey told TheWrap he hadn't seen them yet.
The lab found elevated levels of heavy metals often used in poisons. Its report said that she was probably poisoned by “a third party perpetrator with likely criminal intent.”
Davis said that before they died, Murphy and Monjack both had symptoms of poisoning, including abdominal cramps, vomiting, nausea and disorientation.