(AFP) The father of actress Brittany Murphy, who died in 2009, has claimed that traces of rat poison were found in her hair, backing up his theory that she was poisoned.
The Los Angeles County Coroner’s office ruled that the 32-year-old had died of pneumonia complicated by an iron deficiency, anemia and multiple drug intoxication.
But Angelo Bertolotti, who has refused to accept the findings, told the New York Daily News that an independent analysis he ordered revealed high levels of toxic chemicals, including barium, which is sometimes used in rat poison.
“The lab has shown that she was poisoned with criminal intent,” Bertolotti told the paper, in comments published Tuesday.
“We would like the investigation opened again to discover who did it. So as not to jeopardize the new investigation, I can’t say who I suspect as of yet,” he was quoted as saying.
Murphy made her name in television sitcoms during the 1990s before snapping up notable roles in “Clueless,” the Oscar-winning “Girl, Interrupted,” “Sin City,” “8 Mile” and animated hit “Happy Feet.”
She died in Los Angeles on December 20, 2009, her sudden death causing shock waves to ripple across the entertainment industry.
Her husband, British screenwriter Simon Monjack, died at their shared home five months later at the age of 39, also of pneumonia.
The chief of the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office, Craig Harvey, said his institution provided hair samples for the new analysis. But he added that he had not heard from Bertolotti since and stands by the original findings.
“Nothing has been presented to the coroner’s office for review,” he said.