Aug
24
2010
Erica Blasberg Death Ruled a Suicide, Arrest Warrant Issued for Doctor Who Tampered With the Scene
By Stephanie Wei under LPGA

I have a big lump in my throat and it was pretty painful to read the press release. LPGA pro Erica Blasberg, 25, was found dead in her Henderson, NV, home in May. She was a sweet and enjoyable girl in my brief interactions with her. The Henderson Police released a statement today that noted Erica’s death was ruled a suicide by the coroner and police don’t suspect foul play. Here’s the release in full:

Henderson Police Department concluded an extensive investigation today surrounding the death of 25-year-old professional golfer Erica Blasberg, whose death was ruled a suicide by the Clark County Coroner’s Office.

While no foul play is suspected in Ms. Blasberg’s death, an arrest warrant has been issued today for Dr. Thomas Hess on obstruction of justice charges in connection with removing items from the scene prior to police officers’ arrival.

Police were called out to Ms. Blasberg’s home at 2620 Hotel de Ville Terrace in the Anthem community about 3:15 p.m. on May 9. Blasberg was found deceased in her Henderson home with a plastic bag secured over her head.

The Coroner’s Office ruled the death of Blasberg a suicide due to asphyxia, coupled with the presence of toxic levels of prescription medication in her system.

Toxicology results confirmed the presence of several prescription drugs including headache, cough, pain and anti-anxiety medications. Those drugs included: butalbital, temazepam, alprazolam, codeine, hydrocodone, and tramadol, according to the Coroner’s Office. Nevada law does not permit the coroner to release details on the amount of medication present in a decedent’s system, only the presence.

“While asphyxia was the primary cause of death, the presence of prescription drugs in Ms. Blasberg’s system was a significant factor,” County Coroner Michael Murphy said. “Our thoughts are with her family as they move through this tragedy.”

The case was initially complicated when the person who called 9-1-1, Hess, admitted to altering the scene. Because the scene was altered and Hess stopped cooperating with detectives, an investigation was needed to ensure that there was no foul play involved with Ms. Blasberg’s death.

Hess admitted to removing a note indicating Ms. Blasberg had taken her own life. He hid it in his vehicle along with prescription medications taken from her house. A warrant charging Hess with obstruction has been approved by a judge.

The conclusion to the investigation was delayed as the results of forensic testing took nearly eight weeks to be completed by an outside laboratory.

A copy of the 9-1-1 call placed by Hess will be made available to the media.

Now there’s no reason that people’s opinion of her should change with this news. It just makes me sad and wish I could have been there for her — and I only knew her for mutual friends. I guess maybe what I’m feeling is empathy. Let’s remember Erica for moment like these and as “the girl who could floor you with a grin.”

My sincere condolences to her friends and family.