Brittany Murphy's biological father isn't the only one who thinks there's more to her 2009 death than meets the eye. Amid new reports suggesting that the late Clueless actress had evidence of unsafe levels of heavy metals in her hair when she died suddenly at age 32, her friend Mike Heller of Talent Resources tells Us Weekly that he, too, thought the circumstances of her passing were strange.
"I always suspected something was up with Brittany's death," Heller, who worked with Murphy on celebrity endorsement deals, tells Us. "Something was always very fishy about it."
As previously reported, Murphy's father, Angelo Bertolotti, recently commissioned independent testing of his daughter's hair from the time of her death. Lab results obtained by ABC News indicated that the strands contained evidence of 10 heavy metals "at levels above the WHO [World Health Organization] high levels recommendation." Heavy metals, the report noted, are frequently found in rat poison and insecticides.
Per ABC, the report read: "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 L.A. County Coroner's Office, for its part, stands by its ruling that the cause of Murphy's death was pneumonia, anemia, and prescription drug intoxication. "We have not seen the lab results from her dad or been contacted by him," a spokesman told Us. "Our autopsy stands right now as is. He contacted evidently a private lab for testing and we have not been asked or presented with the test results or any supporting documentation."
Murphy's body was discovered by her husband, Simon Monjack, in December 2009. Five months later, Monjack died under similar circumstances, with his cause of death ruled to be pneumonia and anemia.
Heller was among those who publicly mourned the actress nearly four years ago. "My heart is broken," he said in a statement to Us Weekly at the time. "She was an icon and an extremely talented actress and a good friend. She will definitely be missed."