PGA pro Erica Blasberg’s death was a ruled a suicide by suffocation, and police arrested the doctor who called 911 for allegedly removing pills and a note from the scene.
“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.
Dr. Thomas Hess, 43, a family practitioner in Las Vegas, turned himself in to face misdemeanor obstruction of justice charges for allegedly removing items from Blasberg’s home before authorities arrived on May 9. 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.”
A police spokesman refused to elaborate on circumstances surrounding the death or Hess’s relationship to the 25-year-old golf pro from just outside of Las Vegas. In his 911 call to report she was dead, Hess said he knew Blasberg from “the golf club.”
“I called her yesterday. She was supposed to be leaving for a golf tournament but she didn’t,” he told the emergency operator. “She picked up the phone and she sounded intoxicated at that time.”
When the 911 operator asked Hess if he was sure that Blasberg was beyond help, he said, “I am. I’m a doctor.” He said he was at her house because “I just wanted to make sure she was doing okay.”
A golf standout while attending the University of Arizona, Blasberg struggled at the professional level. Friends said she had been working hard to get her game back on the winning track, but didn’t sense any sign of prescription dependency. Her luggage was packed and she was to play in a golf tournament in Alabama when she died.