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Exclusive: Second laboratory confirms Brittany Murphy was likely poisoned

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With another anniversary of Brittany Murphy’s death fast approaching, Angelo Bertolotti ordered additional testing of his deceased daughter’s hair. The certified lab report was delivered today, confirming the presence of abnormally high levels of Barium, Sulfur (ingredients common in rodenticides/pesticides) and other heavy metals and toxins in Brittany Murphy’s hair samples.

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In an exclusive interview with the Examiner, Mr. Bertolotti was asked why he decided to get Brittany’s hair re-tested. He responded: “These new lab results re-confirm what we already knew. I never doubted the previous test results, but decided to get a second opinion. The original lab was unfairly slandered by Bruce Goldberger (friend of Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter), who called it a "kind of a fly-by-night laboratory." It was unethical for Goldberger to offer his incorrect opinions to media outlets, given his conflict of interest. In 2009, he was opining that Brittany died of a drug overdose, just like Heath Ledger. Goldberger was wrong then and he’s certainly wrong now. I’m not impressed with his obsessive efforts to squash any inquiry into my daughter’s untimely demise.”

When asked what he thought of the new test results, Mr. Bertolotti said: “First of all, the lab that initially conducted the testing is very reputable and accredited. Secondly, the lab that performed another round of tests is recognized and accredited worldwide. They’ve confirmed and even expanded the list of toxic heavy metals found in Brittany’s hair. I have no doubt that my daughter was poisoned. In the past, hair analysis uncovered important information in several historical cases involving former U.S. Presidents Andrew Jackson and Zachary Taylor, as well as Ludwig von Beethoven and Napoleon Bonaparte. Brittany’s hair being tested is another important step in a long journey to determine my daughter’s true cause of death.”

In response to the question about whether Brittany’s death was ever adequately investigated, Mr. Bertolotti answered: “No, it definitely wasn’t. Brittany exhibited many symptoms of poisoning, but the Coroner’s Office didn’t test her remains for any poisons or toxins. They didn’t remove her nail polish to check for Mees’ lines. Brittany’s hair was collected by the Criminalist, but no toxicology was done. There was irregularly-shaped flattened material in Brittany’s stomach that looked like partially digested medication. It wasn’t positively identified as any type of a drug, but was never tested for poison. My child died in agony, suffering from strong abdominal pain and violently vomiting, until her body shut down. Her death was brushed under the carpet. People who should have cared, didn’t. That’s why so many homicides are missed in Los Angeles. The poisoning is not rare – it’s just rarely detected. The Coroner’s Office excluded the possibility of foul play and called her death “natural” right away, before any toxicology was done. To them, my daughter was just another actress. It was easier to blame the victim, to assume she did something to deserve dying at such a young age. The truth is that Brittany wasn’t anorexic, she wasn’t using illicit drugs, she wasn’t neglecting her health. Brittany was seeing doctors and responsibly taking the medications she was prescribed, which the Coroner said were in therapeutic/sub-therapeutic levels.”

Mr. Bertolotti wanted to address several theories that attempted to discredit previous findings: “The hair dye theory was a ridiculous red herring I want to address. The hair that was collected by the Senior Criminalist was Brittany’s natural brown hair. As several experts stated, it wouldn’t explain the presence of rat poison ingredients in Brittany’s hair, as well as many other heavy metals. Then there was a speculation that the hair could have been possibly contaminated by the container in which it was shipped. That suspicion doesn’t hold water either. The Coroner’s Office sent the hair to the lab in a standard “Physical Evidence” envelope. Another crazy rumor circulating all over the Internet is that Brittany was using heroin, cut with rat poison. My daughter didn’t use any illicit drugs, which the autopsy also confirmed.”

In conclusion, Mr. Bertolotti was asked what he wants to happen next. He replied: “I want the Coroner’s Office to do their job. Brittany deserves a full, complete autopsy and so does her husband, Simon Monjack, who died five months after Brittany. He had the same exact symptoms and yet nothing was done to investigate his untimely demise. Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter even admitted that these two eerily similar deaths were highly “unusual.” I’m glad that the Chief Medical Examiner-Coroner Mark A. Fajardo, M.D. took over both cases. We’ve exchanged several letters and I’ve requested a meeting to discuss what needs to happen next. I certainly hope they don’t expect me to continue ordering all this testing on my own, when it was their responsibility to begin with. I just want the Coroner’s Office to do the right thing and for the LAPD to follow suit. It’s time.”

When asked what he thinks of Sharon Murphy’s comment that “we will never know for sure” what really killed Brittany, Mr. Bertolotti bluntly responded: “Shame on anyone who is comfortable not knowing what really killed Brittany and Simon – that will never be me.”

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