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The May 9 death of pro golfer Erica Blasberg, 25, has been ruled a suicide -- and police have arrested the doctor who made the 911 call after finding her. "Blasberg was found deceased in her Henderson home with a plastic bag secured over her head," the Clark County, Nev., Coroner's Office said Tuesday, adding that "toxic" levels of prescription medication were also found in her system.
On Tuesday, Dr. Thomas Hess, 43, turned himself in to police and was charged with misdemeanor obstruction of justice, for allegedly removing pills from Blasberg's home before authorities arrived on the scene. Hess, who was released on bail, had placed the initial call to police after discovering Blasberg non-responsive.
"Hess admitted to removing a note indicating Ms. Blasberg had taken her own life," the statement says. "He hid it in his vehicle along with prescription medications taken from her house."
During the 911 call, Hess told the operator, "I came by to check on her now and she's dead. She put a bag on her head." The doctor said that Blasberg showed no signs of depression in the days before her death, but that she "sounded intoxicated" when he talked to her the day before he found her body.
The coroner's office said Blasberg died of asphyxia, and toxicology results showed she had extremely high levels of many different medications in her system, including butalbital, temazepam, alprazolam, codeine, hydrocodone and tramadol.
Days before her death, the PGA star had finished 44th at the Tres Marias Championship in Mexico. She was slated to play in the Bell Micro LPGA Classic in Mobile, Ala., beginning on May 13, and her packed bags were found near her body.
"We are saddened to hear the news that Erica Blasberg's death was the result of suicide, as she had so much to live for," the LPGA said in a statement. "Our deepest condolences go out to Erica's family and loved ones. The LPGA is a family, and as a family, we mourn together. This is uncharted territory for us as no one here recalls a case of suicide in the 60-year history of the LPGA."
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