Will Brittany Murphy's Death Investigation Be Reopened? New Reports Raise Some Questions
It's been just over six years since actress Brittany Murphy passed away at the age of 32 from what was ruled an "accidental death." Reports at the time stated that Murphy suffered cardiac arrest due to a combination of anemia, pneumonia, and a mixture of legal, over-the-counter cold medications. Now, though, Los Angeles County Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter confirmed to Us Weekly that, under the right conditions, the case could be reopened and Murphy's death could be reinvestigated as a murder.
This comes as no surprise considering the Clueless actress' death spawned a mass of conspiracy theories after her husband, English screenwriter Simon Monjack, died five months after Murphy passed away, from "acute pneumonia and anemia" — just like Murphy. In 2013, Murphy's estranged father Angelo Bertolotti even tested Murphy's hair samples at a private lab, and reported to outlets such ABC News (who also obtained copies of the results) that the test indicated "abnormally high levels" of more than 10 heavy metals in Murphy's system — including barium, which is usually found in rat poison. Bertolotti claimed this could mean Murphy and Monjack were poisoned.
Now, Winter has spoken to E! about the possibility of Murphy's case being reopened and what conditions would need to be met for the death to be reinvestigated, this time as a murder.
"We would have to have direct evidence. In all honesty, it would take something like a confession,” he said, according to E! News. “Something connecting somebody with it." He continued:
On his part, Winter said he has remained skeptical of the conspiracy theories put forward about Murphy's death for years. On Bertolotti's discovery of the levels of metal in Murphy's body, Winter put forward a possible explanation to Us:
Still, not everyone shares Winter's skepticism. Also according to E! News, forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht explained how the University of Pittsburgh would have handled the investigation:
While the police have made it clear that the investigation is unlikely to be reopened, perhaps the renewed attention on the case may prompt new evidence to come to light.