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Few leads in murder of Hollywood publicist

November 17, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
A murder mystery continues to unfold in Beverly Hills, where police are investigating the shooting death of publicist Ronni Chasen.Chasen, 64, was found in her Mercedes-Benz early Tuesday morning, shot five times in the chest.

Detectives said on Wednesday they still have no suspects, no motive and very few leads.

The prominent Hollywood publicist was at the "Burlesque" premiere on Monday night, a film she was helping to promote. Chasen then attended an after party in West Hollywood before heading home to Westwood.

Chasen's black Mercedes crashed into a light pole on Whittier Drive in Beverly Hills and she died less than an hour later at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Investigators reportedly sought to obtain surveillance video from the homes in Beverly Hills near where the crime took place as well as the W Hotel, where Chasen had attended a party just minutes before her death.

A candle and flowers were placed at the site of Chasen's death Wednesday and her friends are now trying to help in the investigation.

Fellow publicist Michael Levine said he is establishing a reward fund for information that leads to the capture and conviction of Chasen's killer.

"She was almost an icon in Hollywood, very well-liked, very well-known," Levine said.

The Palm Springs International Film Festival has also set up a reward, offering $100,000 for information.

"Hopefully they'll find the perpetrator and bring him to justice," said Harold Matzner with the festival. " I realize that doesn't bring Ronni back. She's going to be very missed by all of us. She was a very big part of the success of the Film Festival's award gala."

Her career spanned four decades, working with musicians and composers, but Chasen made her mark with movies. She promoted Academy Award-winning films like "Slumdog Millionaire," "On Golden Pond," and "Driving Miss Daisy."

Actor Morgan Freeman, who worked with Chasen on "Driving Miss Daisy," said, "she is someone I greatly admired."

At the time of her death, she was beginning an Oscar campaign for actor Michael Douglas for his work in "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps."

Publicist and friend Helaine Ross called her the Elizabeth Taylor of public relations.

"Everybody knew her, especially people that were directors and composers and writers. People wanted her because they knew that she knew everybody, and everybody knew her," Ross said.

Anyone with information related to the incident is urged to call the Beverly Hills Detectives Hotline at (310) 288-2656.


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