Actress Brittany Murphy died mysteriously in the home she shared with husband Simon Monjack on December 20, 2009. She was only 32. The Clueless star's career had suffered in recent years and rumors of substance abuse abounded, but Murphy was still vibrant and larger-than-life. For many her death was a total shock and is still yet to be resolved.
Despite an initial report by the coroner that said she died of "natural causes" related to pneumonia and anemia, the final report (with newer toxicology tests) concluded Murphy stopped breathing after ingesting prescription and over-the-counter painkillers, medications such as hydrocodone, and acetaminophen in addition to the effects of pneumonia and anemia. These strange toxicology results suggested she was possibly poisoned. But who was involved?
Many questions surfaced. Who exactly was her husband Simon Monjack, and what was behind his spotty reputation? Was Brittany's death caused by these powerful pain medications, and if so, how was she getting them? Or was it something more sinister, like rat poisoning?
As Brittany Murphy conspiracy theories multiplied, her case became one of Hollywood's classic unsolved mysteries. From the strange circumstances surrounding her death to her husband's eerily similar death only months later, Murphy's case has always reeked of foul play and maybe even a murder cover up.
Rat Poison May Have Been To Blame
Brittany Murphy's father Angelo Bertolotti said an independent toxicology analysis performed on Murphy at his request showed she had chemicals found in rat poison present in her body. Bertolotti said doctors found high levels of Barium - used in some rat poisons - in her hair.
He argues that chronic arsenic poisoning is often confused as anemia, which Murphy purportedly suffered from at the time of her death. Despite his push for the Los Angeles Police Department to reopen the case, it remains closed.
Husband Monjack's Spotty Reputation Was Hard To Ignore
Many in Hollywood described Monjack as "shady." Rumors abounded that Monjack had drained his family's money, was a huge womanizer, and apparently some sort of con artist and criminal.
Friends said he had two warrants for his arrest in Virginia, unpaid legal bills, and he owed $500,000 to a British investment firm. It was also alleged Monjack gave his former fiancee a "diamond" ring that was actually just cubic zirconia. Reports also indicated Monjack had a serious drug problem and some of Murphy's friends blame him for exacerbating her own substance abuse issues.
Monjack Died Shortly After Murphy
Husband Simon Monjack died only five months after Murphy, most likely from a similar mix of over-the-counter medications and the effects of pneumonia and anemia. According to renowned pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht (who famously worked on President Kennedy's assassination case) it isn't impossible for two people to die of pneumonia in the same house during such a short period of time, but "it is pretty darned rare."
The LAPD has never officially stated they believe these deaths to be criminal in nature. However Murphy's father certainly thinks so: "I have a feeling that there was definitely a murder situation here," he said in an interview.
Prescription Painkillers Only Added To A Lethal Mix
Following her death, reports surfaced that Murphy was addicted to prescription pills and living as a recluse. Her mother, Sharon Murphy, said her daughter was living in a filthy mansion and became increasingly paranoid in her final days. She refused to go to the hospital and began taking prescription pills to cure her various ailments. Murphy, who struggled with eating disorders and anemia, was taking a wild cocktail of drugs that doctors theorize caused her body to shut down.