Los Angeles Coroner Rejects Brittany Murphy Poison Claim

Unless you're the least in-the-know person living in your gossip-deprived underwater cave on the outskirts of the lost city of Atlantis, you've read about all the drama surrounding the 2009 death of actress Brittany Murphy. Basically, the gist is that her dad is saying that he had independent labs run on her samples of her hair and they indicate that she might have been poisoned — also, he filed a suit against the LA coroner and police because he believes they didn't test the samples of her hair that he submitted to them.

Now, The Los Angeles County coroner is speaking up. "We have not seen the results [of the report that Murphy's dad independently ordered] and nothing has been presented to us," a spokesperson for the coroner said. "We stand by what we ruled on the case."

Further bolstering the school of thought that it wasn't poisoning, Slate reports that the labs ordered by Murphy's father contain several irregularities:


The report concludes, "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." That is a highly misleading statement. Ernest Lykissa, the toxicologist who ran the tests, told Slate that he considered environmental sources, such as hair dyes, the most likely source of the heavy metals. Only if that explanation could be eliminated—which it clearly cannot, since Murphy wore several different hair colors—would he then consider the possibility of deliberate poisoning. Murphy's father's interpretation of the report is inaccurate, as are the headlines of certain news outlets that claim the tests indicate foul play.

In addition to its strange wording, the statement about criminal intent is unusual in a toxicology report. Forensic toxicologists rarely make such guesses, because they only see a portion of the evidence. Dr. Bruce Goldberger, director of UF health forensic medicine at the University of Florida, told Slate, "The interpretive statement on the Carlson Laboratory report is inappropriate and misleading and could lead to false accusations." Indeed, the Los Angeles County coroner may be forced to reopen the case to allay public concerns raised by the questionable Carlson report.

As of yet, there is no word on whether the LAPD will reopen the case.

[Radar, Slate]


Pic via Getty