The murder of publicist Ronni Chasen, which shocked Hollywood last month, has now been solved. The tip that cracked the case open came from a viewer of “America’s Most Wanted” and the case update will be featured this Saturday (12/11) on Fox.
In the early morning hours of November 16, publicist Ronni Chasen was shot to death in her car while driving through Beverly Hills, CA. Not surprisingly, people in the Hollywood community reached out to AMW and host John Walsh to help find Chasen’s killer. The Fox show immediately began working with the Beverly Hills Police Department (BHPD), and profiled the case on its November 20 broadcast.
Acting on a tip from an anonymous AMW viewer, BHPD dispatched investigators to a Los Angeles apartment building to interview Harold Martin Smith, described as a “person of interest” in the case. When Smith was approached by police, he shot and killed himself.
Rumors circulated in LA that Smith was a poser who’d claimed to be involved in the Chasen killing, but wasn’t. That was disproved Wednesday when the BHPD confirmed that the gun used by Smith in his suicide matched the ballistics of the gun used in the Chasen murder. Rather than being a professional “hit” as some people had speculated, police think the killing was nothing more than a robbery attempt gone very bad.
“I’m very proud that this loyal AMW viewer had the guts to call our hotline to help solve this case,” said AMW host John Walsh. “After 23 years on the air, it reconfirms my belief that an average person can make a difference. It’s my hope that the Chasen family will now have some answers.”
This Saturday, December 11 (9:00-10:00 pm ET/PT) on Fox, AMW will have more on this story and how one brave tipster broke the case.
America’s Most Wanted is produced by STF Productions, Inc. John Walsh is host and executive producer, and Steve Katz is co-executive producer.