A portrait of a smiling Erica Blasberg, once an LPGA hopeful.
No one who knew Erica Blasberg noticed any signs of depression. (Photo Credit: CC BY-SA/Sean Ramblings/Sean's Ramblings)

The official report from police in Henderson, Nev., indicates that LPGA golfer Erica Blasberg’s May 9 death has been ruled a suicide, reports AOL Fanhouse. Why it took authorities more than three months after the discovery of Blasberg’s body to make this determination as well as what role physician Dr. Thomas Hess (who made the 911 call) played in obstructing the investigation remain somewhat unclear.

Erica Blasberg died from asphyxiation and prescription drugs

Coroner Michael Murphy told the press that “While asphyxia was the primary cause of death, the presence of prescription drugs in Ms. Blasberg’s system was a significant factor.” In spite of what could have been simply a tragic open and shut case, Dr. Thomas Hess was arrested for obstruction of justice. The allegation is that Hess took items from the crime scene before police arrived at Blasberg’s Las Vegas home on May 9. Blasberg’s body was found with a bag over the head. While Hess has admitted to removing a suicide note that was allegedly written by Blasberg, he has been otherwise uncooperative with the police investigation. Yet he was allowed free on a mere $637 bail.

Toxic levels of six prescription meds

Erica Blasberg reportedly had “toxic levels” of prescription butalbital, temazepam, alprazolam, codeine, hydrocodone and tramadol in her system, according to the coroner. Nevada law does not permit the coroner to release the exact amounts present, but clearly it is the coroner’s belief that if asphyxiation hadn’t done Blasberg in, the medications could have. It is unclear at this time whether Dr. Hess had prescribed (or administered) the medications to Blasberg, but numerous reports indicate that he and 25-year-old golf pro had a personal relationship. It is also curious that Blasberg, who was slated to play in the Bell Micro LPGA Classic just four days after her death, was found by police with packed bags near her body.

Coping with the loss of a friend

The LPGA is currently reaching out to Erica Blasberg’s friends on the tour, providing counseling services for those having difficulty dealing with the shocking news. “It’s been a rough day,” Erica’s father, Mel Blasberg, told local media. Blasberg had been having difficulty cracking the top ranks of the LPGA, but those who knew her and had spoken to her in the weeks before her death insist that Erica Blasberg did not appear to be depressed.

Know the warning signs of suicide

Whether or not Erica Blasberg’s death was actually a suicide, it is vitally important to be able to recognize the warning signs if you or a loved one is having trouble. According to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, individuals should call 1-800-273-TALK if any of the following indications are present:

Visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website for more signs and information. Take action and you may save a life.

Sources:

AOL Fanhouse http://golf.fanhouse.com/2010/08/24/erica-blasbergs-death-ruled-a-suicide/
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Remembering Erica Blasberg

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