Coroner Reports Erica Blasberg Death Was Suicide

The LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL reports Tuesday afternoon that the death of pro golfer Erica Blasberg has been ruled suicide by the Clark County coroner.

Erica Blasberg and Dr. Thomas Hess Photos

Though not accused of affecting Blasberg’s death, Henderson, Nev., Police today issued an arrest warrant for Dr. Thomas Hess. The warrant includes obstruction of justice charges as it pertains to the removal of items from the scene of Blasberg’s death before police arrived on May 9.

More details of the nature of Blasberg’s passing were also provided by the coroner and police today.

Blasberg, 25, was found with a plastic bag over her head at her home at 2620 Hotel de Ville Terrace in the Anthem community on May 9.

The coroner said she died of 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.

“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 Hess, who reported the death, admitted to altering the scene and would not cooperate with investigators, authorities said.

Hess admitted removing a suicide note, hiding it in his vehicle along with prescription medications taken from the house.

The LAS VEGAS SUN also has details on the lengthy investigation and examination of Blasberg’s death:

The prescription drugs found in her system included headache, cough, pain and anti-anxiety medications, according to the toxicology report. Under Nevada law, the coroner can’t release details on the amount of medication present, only the presence of it.

Officials said the investigation was delayed because forensic testing by an outside laboratory took about eight weeks.

Henderson police this past summer reported confiscating several computers, two video cameras, a cell phone and a global positioning system from Hess’ home, according to an inventory filed after the May 13 searches. Police also seized white plastic trash bags and a computer from Hess’ medical office.

The search warrant issued by a Henderson judge shows police were looking for alprazolam, an anti-anxiety medication also known as Xanax, plus a particular type of white medium-sized trash bags and samples of Hess’ handwriting.

Blasberg had been a professional golfer on the LPGA Tour since 2004. She finished in the Top 10 of an LPGA event once, in 2008.

In 2009, Blasberg lost her tour card after suffering a back injury. She played one LPGA tournament this year, finishing 44th at a May 2 event in Morelia, Mexico.