After the initial shock of Brittany Murphy’s death on December 20, 2009, several questions were raised about her premature passing. Her husband Simon Monjack was in disbelief and at a loss to explain why his 32-year old bride could have encountered such a tragic end.
Monjack was a strange bird with a shady reputation. Unlike Brittany, who had been and remains one of America’s sweethearts, this out of shape older Britt had not won the heart of many. He was a talented photographer and an unemployed screenwriter, but his career was in Slow Mo and he had left behind him, a trail of unpaid debts and child support. The word around town was that he was an opportunist using Brittany for the lifestyle, and that he was ruining her career opportunities with his constant meddling. She had recently been fired from a movie set because of him.
On the other hand, mother and daughter Murphy seemingly lived happily with Monjack in their opulent home on the hill in the city of Fallen Angels. Sharon Murphy who had a front row seat to their relationship, only had positive things to say about her son-in-law and she even continued living with him after losing her daughter.
Monjack often spoke to the media of someone who could be “out to get us” and even opened his home up to reporters after Murphy’s death, revealing an elaborate security set-up.
“There’s actually 56 cameras that cover the house,” he said two months before his own death, as he showed off his high-tech security system.
“Inside the house, outside the house, down into the cul-de-sac.”
Along with the 56 cameras, he also had bio-metric door entries and even a system that scrambles the phone lines if someone tries to record conversations.
Monjack said that both he and Murphy were in fear for their lives and they believed someone was watching them. He even believed that they were in danger of someone “slipping them something.’’
The fact that he died on May 23, 2010, five months following the death of his wife at age 40, and of the same thing, acute pneumonia and severe anemia, also raised questions. But considering that he had cardiovascular problems, was overweight and like Brittany, was consuming loads of prescription pills, it might not have been such a surprise after all.
The LA County Department of Health examined the possibility of toxic mold having been found in the home as possible cause of death but it was later dismissed. After all, Brittany’s mother was living there and she was not showing any signs of intoxication. On the other hand, they found a huge range of over-the-counter and prescription medications in the two victim’s system.
Brittany Murphy was prescribed at least 200 pills monthly from 2008 through 2009, and it sometimes went up to 400. She was using an alias at the pharmacy for nearly two years before she was finally cut off 4 months before her death.
The records indicate that she was getting regular prescriptions of Hydrocodone, Clonazepam, Klonopin and Vicoprofen and certain months, the doses were doubled. The medications were prescribed by Dr. Richard Kroop who received a visit from the authorities during the investigation. He told the investigators that his pharmacy had cut off Brittany and her family 4 months before her death because, “We thought there was going to be an accident there.”
According to the autopsy, Brittany’s death was preventable. The primary causes were pneumonia, severe anemia and intoxication. The coroner believed her condition to be treatable, had she been taken to the hospital on time. The drugs pushed the outcome because of the pneumonia and anemia. So basically, she was sick and did not seek treatment so the anti-seizure medication, the acetaminophen and hydrocodone pushed her over the edge.
In spite of what her mother and widower tried to say at the time of her death, she had abused prescription drugs for years and it is a proven fact that opiate users often end up with anemia, heart disease, diabetes, pneumonia or hepatitis. In light of these facts, it is hard to comprehend why the coroner came up with such a simplistic conclusion as death of ‘natural causes’at the time, even if she had developed some health problems brought upon by the use of prescription drugs.
I was also quite surprised that the coroner’s office found no evidence she was abusing drugs. You only have to look at photos of Brittany and her husband during that period and consider what she was prescribed through the years to conclude that they were addicted to something. Brittany was emaciated and looking unwell. Her husband was bloated and not the picture of health either, but it was not as obvious as his bride. And let us not forget that they sounded quite paranoid.
I guess they chose to buckle the case with a pretty bow on top, and used the toxicology reports without trying to tie them to other logical possibilities.
It looked very similar to the Anna Nicole Smith case who also died because of her addiction to prescription pills.
Since her death, Brittany’s biological father, Angelo Bertolotti, has crawled from under a rock and petitioned the court to obtain hair, blood and tissue samples of his dead daughter to be analyzed for the presence of poisons in her system. He sent the strands of hair to a private lab and the results came up indicating the presence of 10 heavy metals as evidence of a poisoning death.
He was writing a book to be called Britt with Julia Davis to explain his conspiracy theory, but it has not materialized so far. The documentary The Terror Within came out in 2012 and might now be reloaded.
CNN obtained the report by forensic toxicologist Ernest Lykissa, who concluded that the hair from the back of Murphy’s head had higher than recommended levels of 10 heavy metals. “If we were to eliminate the possibility of a simultaneous accidental heavy metals exposure to the sample donor then the only logical explanation would be an exposure to these metals (toxins) administered by a third party perpetrator with likely criminal intent.“
Lykissa, who operates a toxicology testing lab in Deer Park, Texas, did not respond to several calls from CNN to discuss his findings.
The director of forensic medicine at the University of Florida, who is the president of the American Board of Forensic Toxicology, reviewed the report and was very critical of its content. ”It’s ridiculous,” Dr. Bruce Goldberger said. A conclusion of poisoning is an “inflammatory statement” that “is a baseless allegation and outrageous statement to make based on a single hair test.”
Her autopsy indicated no physical signs of poisoning, he said. “A hair test alone, without any clinical signs or symptoms, cannot be used to establish poisoning.” The private report also showed a normal level of arsenic, which would have been elevated if rat poisoning was involved, he said.
“She was a beautiful woman and likely had numerous hair treatments,” Goldberger said. “Chemicals in the hair treatment would alter the chemistry of the hair sample.’’
A hair sample can be affected by many factors such as hair dye, hair spray, prescription medications, foods, smoking even if occasionally and even the environment. So it would take way more than these private lab results to draw serious conclusions on the matter.
Sharon Murphy was infuriated by Bertolotti’s statements. She said ‘’I have no choice now but to come forward in the face of inexcusable efforts to smear my daughter’s memory by a man who might be her biological father but was never a real father to her in her lifetime.’’
She went on to say ‘’Angelo’s claims are based on the most flimsy of evidence and are more of an insult than an insight into what really happened.’’
Brittany’s mom thinks that Bertolotti is trying to profit off of his daughter’s tragedy with the publicity surrounding the poisoning ‘revelations’. She is convinced that a toxic mold found in the house may have killed her daughter and son-in-law even if the Los Angeles County Assistant Chief Coroner said there were no indications of mold in the house at the time.
Sharon disagrees and had filed a lawsuit stating that she discovered extensive water damage and mold infestation in the house where her daughter and, later, her son-in-law died suddenly; the Nina Bow Trust, which owned and operated the property, sued the contractor, subcontractor, and others back in 2006 over all of the perceived construction defects.
Britt and the Terror Within
Angelo’s documentary explains how his daughter and Simon Monjack’s death are linked to Brittany’s support for government whistle blower Julia Davis.
In an interview he gave to the Fleur de Lis Film Studios in LA, Bertolotti said: ‘They were, in fact, under surveillance, including helicopters. Their telephones were wiretapped, Brittany was afraid to go home, because of the sneak-and-peek incursions into their residence and other terror tactics she suffered after speaking out in support of Julia Davis and being named as a witness in her lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security.’
Julia Davis claimed that while working at the US border with Mexico she uncovered evidence that dozens of potential terrorists had entered America in shady circumstances that may have involved the bribery of customs officials.
She has a whistle blower website where she wrote that family members and witnesses who supported her were ‘subjected to land and aerial surveillance, to the tune of millions – at the expense of American taxpayers.’
This included warranless aerial surveillance with fixed-wing airplanes and Black hawk helicopters, vehicular surveillance, OnStar tracking, Internet monitoring, wiretaps, warrantless searches and seizures and series of other outrageous, unwarranted retaliatory measures.’
On the National Whistle blower Center website, Julia Davis said she ‘prevailed’ in court against the Department of Homeland Security despite a total of 54 ‘retaliatory’ investigations being launched against her in an ‘attempt to discredit Julia as an upstanding law enforcement officer and a staunch American patriot.’
The site also has photos of Angelo Bertolotti with his daughter and visiting her grave. He also says that Brittany ”was called as a witness in the Julia Davis case.” He added: ”Brittany did tell me she was under surveillance and incidentally so was I.”
Craig Harvey, the chief of operations for the coroner declared ‘’we stand by our conclusions and opinion.’’ ‘’We have no plans to reopen the inquiries into the deaths of Miss Murphy or Mr. Monjack.“
Like so many others, I really enjoyed Brittany’s screen presence and persona. She had a unique quality with big meaningful eyes that could tell a whole story without words and a smile to light up the planet.
In my opinion, the sadness of her passing is compounded by the ridiculous claims floating around since she left. I get the impression that this tender soul was surrounded by bloodsuckers in life, and now in death. The terror is and often remains within, and in her case, her own husband and some members of her family seemed to have used her as a cash cow without much care for her mental or physical health.
Britt gone too soon
Update: In 2015, Angelo has filed suit against the Los Angeles Coroner’s Office and the Los Angeles Police Department demanding an investigation into her death. He wants to force them to do additional toxicology testing on a sample of Britt’s hair and to re-open the investigation into her death.