Original article no longer available
January 23, 2008
WCBS-TV: $20 Bill With Narcotic Residue On It Also Pulled From Scene
NEW YORK (CBS) New evidence has surfaced in the investigation into the sudden and shocking death of Oscar-nominated actor Heath Ledger, who was found dead inside his apartment on Tuesday afternoon.
Sources close to the investigation tell CBS station WCBS-TV in New York’s Investigative Reporter Scott Weinberger that along with the prescription drugs that were found in the apartment, police also recovered a $20 bill with narcotic residue on it.
Sources add they also found several drug packets containing an unknown substance. WCBS-TV has learned these items were all listed on the official police report from the scene.
To be clear, it’s still unknown whether these items belonged to Ledger or whether he even actually ingested them.
WCBS-TV has contacted the NYPD for a response, but calls were not immediately returned.
The news comes just hours after the medical examiner’s office announced an autopsy on Ledger was inconclusive, and more tests are needed, according to Ellen Borakove, spokeswoman for the office.
Borakove said Wednesday that it will take about 10 days to complete the investigation.
Authorities have contended since the beginning of the investigation that the death of the 28-year-old Australian-born actor was caused by a possible drug overdose.
Police sources Wednesday offered strong evidence of that theory to WCBS-TV, saying bottles of the prescription anxiety drugs Valium and Zoloft, along with the prescription sleeping medication Ambien were all found inside Ledger’s $24,000 a month, three-bedroom loft in New York’s City tony SoHo neighborhood.
Police confirmed that bottles of prescription drugs belonging to Ledger were taken from the apartment.
Ledger was found naked and unresponsive by a housekeeper on Tuesday afternoon while he was waiting for a masseuse. He was pronounced dead a short time later.
“We are all deeply saddened and shocked by this accident,” Ledger’s publicist, Mara Buxbaum, said in a statement Tuesday night. “This is an extremely difficult time for his loved ones and we are asking the media to please respect the family’s privacy and avoid speculation until the facts are known.”
In the media circus now surrounding his death, many are talking about how moody and depressed the Oscar-nominated actor seemed since September, after he moved out of the Brooklyn home he shared with “Brokeback Mountain” co-star Michelle Williams. The two have a daughter together and were engaged to be married last year.
Fans were floored by the news, with many of them showing up outside Ledger’s place in SoHo.
On the doorstep of his building, candles, flowers and notes from fans were strewn about. One fan wrote, “How could anyone hate 10 things about you,” a reference to one of his early teen movies.
“It’s a wasted life sometimes, money, fame. There’s something else people want and unfortunately they can’t tell us what it is,” said Lee Grossberg, one of Ledger’s neighbors.
In Ledger’s last interview on Nov. 4 he told the New York Times he was having trouble sleeping while filming his role as the “Joker” in an upcoming Batman film, “The Dark Knight.” He said he had to take the prescription sleep aid Ambien and that he “probably slept an average of two hours a night. I couldn’t stop thinking. My body was exhausted, and my mind was still going.”
News of the actor’s death spread quickly. Police barricades went up as the tragedy turned spectacle with hundreds of the people, gathering outside the apartment in disbelief.
Most recently, Ledger was featured in the Bob Dylan biography film “I’m Not There.”
Of the most well-known 15 films Ledger appeared in: “The Patriot,” “A Knight’s Tale,” and “Monster’s Ball.” He was also nominated for a Golden Globe for his role in “Brokeback Mountain.”
“I had such great hope for him,” said Mel Gibson, who played Ledger’s vengeful father in “The Patriot,” in a statement. “He was just taking off and to lose his life at such a young age is a tragic loss.”
In 2001, People magazine named Ledger as one of its “50 Most Beautiful People.”
According to a quote from Ledger listed on his profile on the Internet Movie Database, the star enjoyed living life one day at a time.
“I’m not good at future planning. I don’t plan at all,” he said. “I don’t know what I’m doing tomorrow. I don’t have a day planner and I don’t have a diary. I completely live in the now, not in the past, not in the future.”