Was Brittany Murphy Really Poisoned? Why You Should Be Cautious of the Latest Reports

It's been nearly four years since Brittany Murphy passed away, but there are still questions — for some — surrounding her death.

Here are the inarguable facts. The "Clueless" actress collapsed on the floor of her bathroom in her Los Angeles home on Dec. 20, 2009. Paramedics couldn't revive her and she was pronounced dead at 10:04 a.m. at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. After performing an autopsy, the L.A. Dept. of Coroner announced Murphy died from pneumonia, anemia, and multiple drug intoxication. She was just 32.

Her husband, Simon Monjack, died five months later on May 23, 2010. In a strange twist, the coroner attributed his fatal heart attack to pneumonia and anemia. He was 40.

Now is the point where the facts and conspiracies begin to intertwine.

The man who claims to be Murphy's father, Angelo Bertolotti, did not believe the coroner's conclusion that the both the actress and her filmmaker husband died of the exact same cause so close together.

"I have a feeling that there was definitely a murder situation here," Bertolotti told "Good Morning America" on Tuesday. "Yeah, it's poison. Yes, yes, I know that."

Bertolotti supposedly secured Brittany's hair, blood, and tissue samples and submitted them for independent testing at the Carlson Company in Colorado. According to the company's website, its technicians can perform services ranging from "infidelity DNA testing by mail" to heavy metal tests. ("If you could ask the deceased in your local cemetery to indicate by raising their right hand that their death resulted from poisoning you would be shocked by the number of right hands you would see," the site proclaims. "This having been said see what their official cause of death shows on their death certificate.")

Lab reports first published by The Examiner state, "Ten (10) of the heavy metals evaluated were detected at levels higher than the WHO [The World Health Organization] high levels. 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."

Heavy metals are commonly found in rat poison and insecticides — as well as old paint, industrial zones, medicines, hair dye, and even certain foods and beverages. ("Occupational exposure has probably accounted for the vast majority of accidental heavy metal poisoning throughout human history," Dr. Adefris Adal, resident physician at Kings County Medical Center in New York, states in an article on the medical site Medscape.)

The Carlson report continues: "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 Examiner article was written by Julia Davis (more on her later), a friend of Bertolotti's.

"Vicious rumors, spread by tabloids, unfairly smeared Brittany’s reputation," Bertolotti told the Examiner. "My daughter was neither anorexic nor a drug junkie, as they repeatedly implied. Brittany and Simon were ridiculed by The Hollywood Reporter, when they complained of being under surveillance and in fear for their lives. I will not rest until the truth about these tragic events is told. There will be justice for Brittany."

But just because Bertolotti is saying murder and there are apparently lab results to question the official causes of death of Murphy and Monjack, it doesn't mean everyone should immediately buy in. Let us break down the whole scenario and let you decide for yourself whether you subscribe to Bertolotti's conspiracy theory.

December 2009

In the weeks following Brittany's death, rumors flew that the actress battled anorexia and prescription drug abuse. According to notes from an investigator with the Los Angeles coroner's office, a large amount of prescription drugs was found in Brittany's bedroom. Simon later claimed the pills were his.

Angelo Bertolotti

Bertolotti supposedly did not have much of a relationship with the actress or her mother, Sharon Murphy, in the years leading up to Brittany's death. Sources close to Sharon have even raised doubts whether or not Angelo is Brittany's biological father, but that did not deter him from launching his own probe.

After Brittany's death, Bertolotti took legal action to force the Los Angeles coroner to put his name on her death certificate as her father. In the years that followed, he has been very vocal in expressing his doubts over Brittany's cause of death.

In 2012, Bertolotti filed suit against the Los Angeles coroner and the Los Angeles Police Department, demanding that they do additional toxicology testing on a sample of the star’s hair and to reopen the investigation into her death.

The case was dismissed, court records show, after Bertolotti failed to show up to court twice.

So that begs the question … where did Bertolotti get the hair used in the private test?

The Wrap reports the coroner’s office concluded that he was entitled to the samples, so it turned them over to a private lab of Bertolotti’s choosing — the Carlson Company — to look for signs of poisoning.

The Los Angeles Coroner

Los Angeles County Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter admitted Brittany and Simon's deaths were eerily similar, but dismissed theories at the time there was foul play.

"At the time of their death, both of them were in very poor health. I don't think they ate correctly or took care of themselves. They didn't seek medical attention," Winter told ABC News but he did acknowledge their deaths were "unusual."

As for the most recent report, the L.A. coroner's office is unable to comment on publicized reports of private lab tests, telling omg! in a statement:

"We are aware that additional testing was done by Mr. Bertolotti. We have not been provided with a copy of the complete results to evaluate if that is what is being sought. We will not be making any further comment on the matter as we stand by our original results and opinion."

Julia Davis

Department of Homeland Security whistleblower and the author of the Examiner article, Julia Davis, has expressed her own conspiracy theories about the deaths of Brittany and Simon.

In 2004, DHS supposedly branded Davis a "domestic terrorist" because she accused government officials of breaching national security. Davis served as a Customs and Border protection officer.

In the 2012 film, "Top Priority: The Terror Within," Davis alleges that Brittany was caught up in a government plot and that she and Simon were placed under surveillance.

Davis and Bertolotti are working together on a book, "Britt," detailing what they believe really happened to the actress.

"She was a young and wholesome girl, so we want the record to be set straight and for Brittany to have justice," Davis told GMA on Tuesday.

What's Next?

The L.A. coroner's office would be open to further investigating Brittany's death ... if her father would provide the office with lab results he believes prove she was poisoned.

"We would certainly talk to him," Chief Coroner Investigator Craig Harvey told The Wrap. "If he wants us to take a look at it, he needs to provide us with the complete documentation."

Angelo Bertolotti claims he sent the results on Friday, but Harvey says he has yet to see them.

The LAPD declined to comment on the new report.

What do you make of the latest claims in Brittany's death? Tell us in the comments.