ForMike Redmon/Updated: Mar 7, 2019 2:28 pm. ITS T
When Brittany Murphy was found dead at age 32 on December 20, 2009, the news shocked the entertainment community. Reports on Murphy's struggles with herinner demonssoon came to light, and when the cause of death was announced: pneumonia, anemia andmultiple drug intoxication—her story began to be read as another cautionary tale about Hollywood's prescription drug problem.
But in the months after her untimely death, the actress' death took a series of twists that not even Hollywood's best screenwriters could have written. What started out as an open and shut affair turned into its complete opposite, and to this day, questions remain about what really happened in the chaotic days leading up to Murphy's death and the controversial response that followed.
The coroner said his death was preventable.
When Brittany Murphy's cause of death was revealed in February 2010, Los Angeles Coroner's Office Deputy Chief Ed Winter saidPeoplethat the actress's death could have been avoided. "Murphy was planning to see a doctor, but unfortunately he passed away before she did," Winter said. "It was the case of a person with pneumonia who was anemic (low blood count) who was taking medicine when he should have been receiving medical treatment." were found on her system.
AccordingCNN, Murphy's death was officially ruled accidental. "Elevated levels" of prescription and over-the-counter medications he had taken had adverse effects on his "weak state". Murphy's husband, producer Simon Monjack, saidPeoplethat Murphy had seen a doctor and was on antibiotics, but Winter disputed Monjack's version of events, sayingPeoplethat the last time Murphy saw a doctor was "a while ago".
So who was telling the truth: the coroner's office or Murphy's husband?
Her husband had a questionable past.
For the record, the authoritiesI never considered Simon Monjack a suspectin the death of Brittany Murphy. However, her past has still become the subject of intense scrutiny. AccordingNew York Post, Monjack had a sordid history of alleged credit card fraud, evictions, and financial problems. Her alleged run down the hall with Murphy also raised eyebrows from several of her friends.
Although he is often referred to as a British filmmaker, Monjack's resume is sparse. In fact, one of his few credits was achieved by suing the creators in 2006.factory girl, claiming that the script was stolen. After Murphy's death, director George Hickenlooper reportedly dismissed Monjack in deleted comments on the film's website.hollywood-elsewhere."Simon Monjack did not producefactory girl", Hickenlooper allegedly wrote (viamovie line.) "He sued the project for a title and stole 150k out of my budget. He's a crook and a bad guy. When Brittany married him I warned him and I warned him like so many others. I just hope to God, that this bastard didn't contribute to her sad, sad death. What a wonderful girl she was. I really cared about her a lot.
Hickenlooper supposedly tried to contact Murphy before his death, but wasn't allowed to by Monjack. "Thought I could take you for all your money," Hickenlooper wrote (viamovie line.) "Little did I know she would end up dead."
He launched an incomplete charity with Murphy's mother.
In February 2010, just two months after Brittany Murphy's death, Monjack and Murphy's mother, Sharon Murphy, attempted to launch the Brittany Murphy Foundation by organizing a charity event. AccordingTMZ, Monjack raised suspicions when she learned that he was charging a donation of $1,000 per person just to attend. Matters got even darker when Monjack abruptly canceled the event, claiming there was "an illness in the family", the tabloid reported.
Two weeks later,TMZreported that the Brittany Murphy Foundation had not submitted the proper documentation to be listed as a non-profit organization, meaning it could not solicit charitable donations. As if things weren't suspicious enough, whenTMZtried to reach Monjack for comment, the foundation's website went offline. Finally, the site came back with a new message promising to return donations until "our nonprofit status is approved before moving forward to ensure we can truly honor Brittany's charitable wishes."
In an interview withPeople, Sharon took the blame for the philanthropic fiasco. "My daughter and I always talked about doing this. It wasn't Simon," she said. "I wanted to be clear about that." Sharon and Monjack claimed it was all a mix-up exacerbated by their grief and lack of experience with nonprofit work, but the botched fundraiser was just the beginning of the complex mystery surrounding the actress' death.
Monjack died the exact same way as Murphy.
On May 23, 2010, Sharon Murphy discoveredSimon Monjack deadat Brittany Murphy's Hollywood home, where Sharon and Monjack continued to live after Brittany's death. As if Monjack's death six months after his wife's death wasn't strange enough, according toabc news, an autopsy revealed that he died of the exact same causes as Murphy: "acute pneumonia and severe anemia". The only difference was that Monjack's death allegedly did not involve "drug intoxication".
Needless to say, husband and wife dying of the same medical issues within a year of each other added to the growing speculation surrounding Brittany's death, but more suspicious details would soon reveal themselves.
Monjack allegedly emptied Brittany's bank accounts
Two months after Monjack's death, Brittany Murphy's former business manager Jeffrey Morgenroth saidPeoplethat Simon Monjack allegedly emptied Murphy's finances by 80% before he died. "There were large amounts of money in [Brittany's] pension plan and bank account, and all of that is gone," Morgenroth said. "I would see it on account statements. Simon withdrew money, hundreds of thousands."
Morgenroth's assistant also claimed that Monjack's mother ordered Brittany's mother to leave Sharon Murphy and Monjack's Hollywood home.
Monjack and Sharon slept in the same bed.
In August 2010,TMZreported a tip that raised even more questions about Brittany Murphy's death. According to the coroner's report into Simon Monjack's death, Sharon Murphy allegedly told investigators that sheshareda bed with Monjack.
To be clear: Brittany's mother was supposedly sleeping in the same bed as her widowed son-in-law. However, according toTMZ, the coroner's report "does not suggest sexual contact between the two," which doesn't make things any less awkward.
Was mold a fatal factor?
With Brittany Murphy and Simon Monjack dead of the same causes, mold was suspected in the couple's Hollywood home. AccordingTMZHer investigators had previously considered mold to be a factor behind the actress's death, but like everything else surrounding the case, things took a strange turn.
when answering aCNNReporting speculation that mold may have contributed to the deaths of Murphy and Monjack, coroner Ed Winter said there was "no evidence" that viral mold was a factor. However, in a bizarre twist, Sharon Murphy released a statement saying that "I was never personally invited by the coroner or anyone from the Department of Health to come and inspect my house for mold." Winter called this "an absolute lie", insisting that he had spoken to Monjack, Sharon and her lawyer about the mold during the investigation.
Why would Sharon potentially lie about investigators checking the house for mold? Who knows? But one person was getting very suspicious and determined to get some answers.
An independent lab suggested it was poisoned.
In 2013, Brittany Murphy's father, Angelo Bertolotti, released the results of an independent lab report suggesting that his daughter's death was not an accident. According to Bertolotti, his daughter was poisoned. "I have a feeling there was a definite murder situation here," he said.abc news, which reported the results of the independent laboratory.
"By analyzing the hair strand sample identified as 'back of head', we detected ten (10) heavy metals at levels above the WHO high-level recommendation," the report reads. "If we were to eliminate the possibility of simultaneous accidental exposure to heavy metals in the sample donor, the only logical explanation would be an exposure to these metals (toxins) administered by a third-party perpetrator with probable criminal intent." The Angeles County coroner's office stood by its results, and a University of Florida toxicologist saidabc newsthat the hair test results "cannot be used to support any allegations of poisoning and cannot be used to establish the cause and mode of death".
That didn't stop Bertolotti from looking into the murder angle, and he already had a prime suspect.
Her father accused her mother of murder.
In a 2014 interview for theExaminer(acrossJezebel), Angelo Bertolotti made it clear that he believes his ex-wife murdered their daughter. "Explain why he made a will for my daughter, leaving everything to her mother and specifically excluding Simon," Bertolotti said. "Let Sharon explain why she decided to do this right after Brittany and Simon told her about their plan to move to New York and have a baby. Let Sharon clarify how she planned to support herself for the first time in decades, since Brittany has moved out. talk about auctioning Brittany's underwear, passport, SAG card and clothes. There are many unanswered questions that need to be addressed. Of the three people who live together in the same house, only one survives and benefits financially."
Em 2016,Radarreported that Bertolotti's health had forced him to drop his lawsuit against the Los Angeles Police Department and the coroner's office for the right to exhume his daughter's remains to try to prove that she was poisoned. According to family members, Bertolotti still believes Sharon is responsible for Brittany's death, but "she has to move on with her life".
Bertolottihe diedon January 22, 2019. He was 92 years old.
The house was full of 'empty pill bottles'
WhenY! Newsspoke with coroner Ed Winter in 2016, he offered a new perspective on the deaths of Brittany Murphy and Simon Monjack. Specifically, he suggested that drugs may have played a greater role than initially believed.
"We removed nearly 90 empty pill bottles from the room," Winter said. "They were in Simon's name and alias. It was like, who has so many boxes of medicine? He took pills. When we got back, when Simon died, there were loads of prescriptions again."
Nobody knows what really happened
Though official reports point to Brittany Murphy dying from pneumonia, anemia, and an adverse reaction to prescription drugs, there are more questions than answers about how she found herself in this situation and what was really going on in her Hollywood home. went unnoticed and allegedly maintained "tight control" over the actress and her finances, according toPeople. Nonetheless,Radarreported in 2016 that her mother, Sharon Murphy, all but disappeared after her ex-husband began investigating their daughter's death.
Although the actress's death was officially ruled an accident, after everything that's happened since her death, it's no surprise that doubts and suspicions persist.