Erica Blasberg: Death of LPGA Golfer Ruled a Suicide

Elliott PohnlFeatured ColumnistAugust 24, 2010

Erica Blasberg: Death of LPGA Golfer Ruled a Suicide

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    Almost four months after the death of Erica Blasberg, authorities have ruled her death as a suicide.

    Blasberg, a 25-year old college sensation who became a popular figure on the LPGA Tour, was found dead after a 911 call brought Police to her Henderson, Nevada home on May 11.

    The Clark County Coroner's office announced the findings of its investigation Tuesday.  Authorities ruled out foul play as a cause of death and determined she died from asphyxiation.  Blasberg also had  toxic levels of prescription medication in her system, including pain and anti-anxiety medications.

    Tuesday, Police also issued an arrest warrant for Dr. Thomas Hess, Blasberg's former physician, on charges of obstruction of justice after he removed evidence from the scene before officers responded to the 911 call.

    Although the investigation is officially over, the mystery surrounding the case is only beginning.

    Here is a closer look at the tragic death of Erica Blasberg.

The Fateful Day

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    Police responded to a 911 call from Erica Blasberg's home and found her deceased.  Reports surfaced that the death was a suicide, but her father, Mel Blasberg, told the Riverside County Press details of the scene looked a bit mysterious.

    Four days later, Police raided the home and offices of Dr. Thomas Hess, who was Erica's physician.

    She had been scheduled to play in an event in Alabama beginning on May 14, three days after she passed away.

The Investigation Against Dr. Thomas Hess

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    As the investigation continued, it appeared that Hess was clearly a person of interest.  His exact relationship with the deceased has yet to be brought to light, but that could change with him facing obstruction charges.

    In the mid-May raid of the Hess' property, Police seized documents and small white plastic bags identical to ones found next to Blasberg's bed.

    Mel Blasberg told ABCNews.com Tuesday that his family plans to pursue civil action against Hess in the coming months.

A Promising Career That Never Got The Chance to Pan Out

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    Blasberg burst onto the scene in 2003 as a freshman for the University of Arizona.  She won six tournaments and was named a Freshman All-American and the Pac-10 player of the year.

    She decided to turn pro in 2004 and began playing events on the LPGA Tour the following year.

    Blasberg was never ranked higher than 94th on the money list on tour, and quickly fell on hard times.  She was forced to attend Q-school in 2007 and was a non-exempt player in both 2008 and 2009.

    Despite her struggles, there was optimism that her game would turn around, allowing her to become a successful young face on the LPGA tour.  She maintained endorsement deals with Puma, Casio, and Cleveland Golf.

The Blasberg Family Wants Answers

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    After cautioning that there might have been more to his daughter's death than meets the eye, Mel Blasberg has vowed to find the truth.

    "At the bottom of this, we just want to know what happened," Blasberg told ABC News.

    Blasberg remembered his daughter fondly and said that she had always remained confident that her golf game was close to turning around.