Murphy was only 32 when she died suddenly in December 2009 after feeling ill and vomiting violently in the bathroom of her home.
Bertolotti blew open the case sensationally a week ago Monday (Nov. 18) with the release of a laboratory report that found heavy metals in her system that are indicative of rat poison and insecticide.
But who could have poisoned her? And why?
Here’s our theory, and it begins with Sharon Murphy. One thing is certain, she and her daughter had a deeply co-dependent relationship.
Read More on Brittany Murphy
Brittany was engaged at least twice in her life and backed out of each marriage. In 2007, she finally married Simon Monjack, a British screenwriter who was eight years her senior. He soon fell into her mother’s co-dependent relationship.
Later, after Brittany had died, press reports revealed that Monjack and Sharon Murphy were so close they slept together in the same bed in Brittany’s house. They claimed they did not have sex.
Monjack was questioned but was ruled out as a suspect after Brittany’s death was determined to be accidental.
After his demise, however, suspicious information was discovered on his personal laptop computer. It showed he was making large payments overseas and may have had two love children by separate women, whom he was supporting. In short, he may have had a motive for controlling Brittany by keeping her ill and enfeebled.
It’s also very possible Sharon Murphy was suffering from Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome (MBPS), a relatively rare form of child abuse that involves the exaggeration or fabrication of illnesses by a primary caretaker to maintain a co-dependent relationship, according to standard medical references.
In that light, it’s also quite possible that Sharon was feeding her daughter small doses of poison over time to make her ill in order to maintain their co-dependent relationship. It would keep Brittany from leaving her, or forcing her to move, while making Brittany just sick enough to need her mother’s constant care and attention.
MBPS is a rare psychological disease and not something a coroner would be looking for under any circumstances. A coroner merely looks for the medical cause of death.
But if it could be proven conclusively that Brittany had poison in her system, then the theory would be worth exploring. But it would be up to police investigators to reopen the case and look into it.
With Monjack out of the way, however, there are likely no witnesses, and building a circumstantial case after the passage of so much time would be difficult.
What is known is this: Despite her poor health, neither Sharon nor Monjack made Brittany seek medical attention. Brittany was reportedly making plans to see a doctor the following week when she started feeling ill and died on Dec. 20.
If this theory is true, it’s probable that Sharon never meant to kill Brittany. But the cumulative effects of the poison, plus her other maladies, were enough to cause the frail actress to suffer cardiac arrest.
Now, Sharon Murphy seems very anxious to discredit the new lab findings. She wrote a letter to The Hollywood Reporter, published today (Nov. 25), calling Bertolotti’s accusations “madness” and “insulting.”
Bertolotti, who was estranged from Brittany for most of his life and did a 12-year stretch in prison on organized crime charges, sued the coroner’s office to obtain hair, blood and tissue samples so tests could be conducted privately.
“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,” the report said.
In the letter, Sharon Murphy blasted Bertolotti for being an absentee father, called the report undependable, accused the lab of violating professional ethics and claimed Bertolotti was out to sensationalize the case to make money.
But if the lab findings are true, then the person who poisoned Brittany had to be close to her, someone who saw her almost every day and whom she trusted.
Say what you will about Bertolotti, he’s raised important suspicions in the case that should be investigated by police.