Brittany Murphy’s sudden death at 32 still ‘puzzles' forensic pathologist

Ellie Harrison
Brittany Murphy died suddenly in 2009: Getty

A new documentary about Brittany Murphy is being released, in which a forensic pathologist says his questions about the mysterious circumstances surrounding her death “were never truly answered”.

The Clueless actor, who died suddenly at the age of 32 in 2009, is now the subject of a new Investigation Discovery documentary titled Brittany Murphy: An ID Mystery, which revisits her death.

Murphy’s death was officially ruled an accident, caused by pneumonia, anaemia and multiple drug intoxication.

In the documentary, forensic pathologist Dr Cyril Wecht – who was hired by Murphy’s father Angelo Bertolotti to investigate his daughter’s death – is interviewed.

Speaking to Fox News about the new programme, Wecht said: “[Bertolotti] was very persistent in wanting to find out what happened to his daughter. It had even reached the point we were talking about excavation.

"Unfortunately, he did not have power of attorney and there was no legal way in which he could have accomplished that. There was no kind of criminal investigation and nobody was requesting it.”

On the original investigation, he added: “What stood out to me was that here’s a young woman of 32 years old. How could she have developed such an advanced state pneumonia and such an incredible state of iron deficiency? Where in the world was her mother, her husband? Why didn’t she receive proper medical care?

“I was just puzzled by all of it. She had the financial means to see a doctor. And then she had prescriptions to strong opiates. It was very perplexing.”

A lab report commissioned by Bertolotti showed 10 potentially toxic heavy metals were present in a hair strand sample, suggesting Murphy might have been poisoned.

Wecht said it is “impossible” to rule out that Murphy was murdered. He added: “I can only say what I’ve said before – it’s not possible to completely rule out things. But you have to deal with the questions – questions that I feel were never truly answered.”

Bertolotti’s estranged wife Sharon Murphy wrote a letter to The Hollywood Reporter in 2013, refuting his allegations that their daughter was poisoned.

“His claims are based on the most flimsy of evidence and are more of an insult than an insight into what really happened,” she wrote.

Murphy’s husband, British screenwriter Simon Monjack, was found dead just five months after she was, with pneumonia and anaemia named as the causes of death.

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