Was Brittany Murphy Poisoned to Death?
New lab report raises questions in the 2009 death of the "Clueless" star.
Nov. 19, 2013— -- New questions are being raised in the 2009 death of "Clueless" actress Brittany Murphy.
A lab report commissioned by Angelo Bertolotti, Murphy's father, showed the presence of heavy metals at two to nine times higher than the levels identified by the World Health Organization as being considered "high."
"I have a feeling that there was a definite murder situation here," he told "Good Morning America. "It's poison, yes, I know that."
The lab report, that was first reported by Examiner.com and obtained by ABC News, reads, "Testing the hair strand sample identified as 'back of the head' we have detected ten (10) heavy metals at levels above the WHO high levels recommendation. 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."
"Brittany Murphy's death is highly supsicious," attorney Cyril Wect told "GMA." "It is a report from an accredited laboratory. It cannot be ignored."
The Los Angeles Coroner's Office ruled that the 32-year-old actress died in December 2009 of pneumonia, anemia and prescription drug intoxication.
A spokesman for the coroner told ABC News that they "stand by our report."
Bertolotti has never accepted the coroner's ruling. Last January, he filed suit against the Los Angeles Police department to obtain samples of his daughter's hair for testing.
"I'm not going to rest until my daughter's untimely demise is properly investigated, which hasn't happened so far. Her case deserves more than a superficial glance," Bertolotti said in a press release quoted by The Hollywood Reporter.
"Vicious rumors, spread by tabloids, unfairly smeared Brittany's reputation. My daughter was neither anorexic nor a drug junkie, as they repeatedly implied," Bertolotti told the paper. "I will not rest until the truth about these tragic events is told. There will be justice for Brittany."
Murphy's husband, Simon Monjack, died five months after his wife. His autopsy showed the causes to be pneumonia and anemia.
According to Bertolotti, Murphy and Monjack suffered from headaches, abdominal cramps, wheezing, disorientation, congestion and pneumonia -- some of the same symptoms caused by heavy metal poisoning.
However, Bruce Goldberger, a toxicologist who directs UF Health Forensic Medicine at the University of Florida, said the hair lab results alone are not enough to suggest that Murphy was poisoned. More importantly, Murphy lacked the telltale sign of heavy mental poisoning when she died: lines across her fingernails.
These lines, called Mees' lines or leukonychia striata, are a key tool toward diagnosing heavy metals poisoning, Goldberger said. Without them, it's unlikely heavy metals played a role in Murphy's death.
"The bottom line is these hair test results cannot be used to support any allegation of poisoning, and cannot be used to establish a cause and manner of death," Goldberger told ABCNews.com. "I feel what really contributed to her death were the drugs that she had ingested... I'm satisfied with the original findings of the coroner."
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