Johnny Depp At The Heart Of A True Hollywood Murder Mystery

Johnny Depp is in the news again, but this time the drama stems from a 14-year-old murder mystery in which Depp may or may not have been involved. Even now, after a decade and a half of fruitless investigating, there’s yet to be any proof as to whether or not Depp was involved in the disappearance and murder of Depp’s former business partner, Anthony Fox.

The few facts that are known would seem to implicate Johnny in a scheme and murder plot taken from such films as Black Mass or DonnieBrasco.

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Back in the 90s, Anthony Fox owned a nightclub by the name of The Central, conveniently located on Sunset Strip in Hollywood. He partnered with Depp and renamed the club The Viper Room, with plans to promote it as the hippest new spot in town. As they say of all best laid plans, The Viper Room shortly went downhill, becoming a den of drug dealers and addicts.

It was just outside of The Viper Room on Halloween, 1993, that River Phoenix, long-time friend of Depp, died from a drug overdose. He had just injected heroin into his arm before leaving the club.

Ironically, River’s death sent Johnny Depp spiraling out of control on his own drug and alcohol fueled binge and, meanwhile, his former partner was busy filing a lawsuit against him. Fox’s lawsuit alleged that Johnny arranged to embezzle millions of dollars from The Viper Room, and a 2003 preliminary hearing had the case’s judge in hearty agreement with Fox.

“Depp … breached his fiduciary duties. The facts establish persistent and pervasive fraud and mismanagement and abuse of authority.”

Anthony was scheduled to testify against Depp, as well as four others, when he suddenly disappeared. Fox’s pickup truck and.38-caliber revolver were also found to be missing, suggesting foul play.

After 19 days missing, Anthony’s truck was found abandoned on January 6, 2002, but no body was ever recovered. Shortly afterwards, Depp settled out of court in a quiet arrangement with Fox’s daughter, Amanda.

“I believe if Tony hadn’t filed the suit, he would be here today,” says music producer and long-time acquaintance of Anthony Fox, Donna Lynn.

“The timing is so suspicious. Tony was about to win that lawsuit, but before he got his day in court, he vanished. There are many questions — and no answers.”

Johnny Depp: Guilty Of Conspiring To Commit Murder Or A Victim Of Circumstances?

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The investigation is still ongoing, as far as Anthony Fox’s disappearance, but the entire saga seems reminiscent of any number of mobster movies. Many involved in the case may be asking themselves what Johnny Depp might have done to avoid prison and the loss of a promising Hollywood career.

Yet, there’s another side to this story. There’s really no evidence, circumstantial or otherwise, linking Johnny to the fate of his former Viper Room business partner. Also, as indicated earlier, Mr. Depp wasn’t the only person implicated in the original fraud charges. Fox was set to testify against four other persons, so, while he may have been the victim of foul play, that doesn’t necessarily mean Johnny Depp had anything to do with it.

A representative of Ventura Police Department’s Major Crimes Division insists that this is still an open endangered missing person’s case, but it seems unlikely that anything new may be discovered after 15 years. If Johnny Depp is guilty of Anthony Fox’s presumed death, it seems very possible that, in this case, Johnny got away with murder.

” ‘I know I can do it,’ Todd Downey said, helping himself to another ear of corn from the steaming bowl. ‘I’m sure that in time, every bit of her will be gone and her death will be a mystery… even to me.’ ” – Johnny Depp as Morton Rainey in Secret Window (2004).

[Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images]