Last week, Brittany Murphy’s father, Angelo Bertolotti, came forward with an independent lab report that he says proved that Murphy was poisoned. That would be a big story, but the problem is, Bertolotti has hooked up, for various Murphy-related projects, with a 9/11 conspiracy theorist documentary maker who says Murphy was killed by the government as part of a cover-up. And I tend not to trust the lab interpretations of non-doctors who have a financial stake in the results.
We’ll get to what an actual doctor thinks in a minute, but first, what does Brittany’s mom, Sharon Murphy, say about it?!
She recently wrote an open letter in The Hollywood Reporter that she opens by describing how Brittany’s father abandoned her when she was one and only came back into her life when she started getting famous, and that he doesn’t speak for the family, just in case you were worried someone in this story didn’t have an agenda. At long last, she gets to the lab reports:
In light of the recent publicity about a lab test Angelo had done, I have asked some knowledgeable people, and they tell me that an analysis from a sample of hair is not considered dependable unless it is backed up by tests of tissue and blood and other analysis — which he did not do (the coroner did, but they show no similar results). I am also told one lab may give different results than another lab in terms of heavy metals, and the proper method requires multiple tests before any results are released.
The lab Angelo used, if you can call it that, is an Internet site that farmed out the actual testing and then wrote horribly untrue things under the guise of “analysis.” It mentioned rat poison as a possible cause and claimed to be able to say that a third party murdered my beloved daughter. […]
This report conveniently ignores what any good scientist will tell you: A hair sample can be affected by many outside factors, including hair dye, hair spray, prescription medications, foods, smoking the occasional cigarette and environmental factors. One cause we now know may have been toxic mold that was eventually discovered in that house — which may have been what really killed her.
Ahh, there’s the rub. Did I mention that Sharon Murphy was suing the builders of her daughter’s home alleging her death was caused by toxic mold†? Christ, can we get someone who isn’t wearing a tinfoil skullcap to comment on this?
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 toxicology report has been interpreted in several media reports as saying Murphy and Monjack were murdered with rat poison.
The director of forensic medicine at the University of Florida, who is also the president of the American Board of Forensic Toxicology, reviewed the lab report for CNN and was very critical.
“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.”
Murphy’s autopsy revealed 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 her hair sample.”
The Los Angeles coroner “has no plans to reopen the inquiries into the deaths of Miss Murphy or Mr. Monjack,” Craig Harvey, the chief of operations for the coroner, said Tuesday. “We stand by by our conclusions and opinion.” [CNN]
There’s a bit more, but the rub is that Brittany Murphy was probably killed by a cocktail of prescription drugs and an unhealthy diet. It does seem odd that her husband died so soon after, but he was also a shady con artist and it’s clear that Brittany Murphy wasn’t surrounded by the stablest people. Look, I wasn’t there, so I can’t say for certain that they weren’t killed by the Star Whackers or some other shady government cabal that targets fading celebrities, but if they were, that cabal did a great job targeting a group of people no one would ever believe.
†Well, actually, she was suing her lawyers for accepting at $600,000 settlement from the builders over toxic mold when she thinks she could’ve gotten much more, but I don’t know how far down the rabbit hole you want to go on this one.