Simpson Detective, Former Local Deputy Dies

Posted On January 23, 2012

Philip Vannatter testifies during the O.J.

Simpson murder trial in 1994.

Associated Press

(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) – After Philip Vannatter investigated one of the most famous murder cases in modern history, he was looking for a change of pace.


Vannatter was tasked with the role of lead investigator in the 1994 slayings of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. Former football star O.J. Simpson would be charged with their murders, but was later acquitted following a lengthy trial.


The 28-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department died Friday in Santa Clarita, California at age 70. Family members told the Associated Press that Vannatter had complications with cancer.


After working alongside fellow detective Mark Fuhrman on the Simpson trial for over a year, Vannatter retired from the LAPD and moved to southeast Indiana.


He ran for sheriff in Switzerland County in 2002, but lost to Nathan Hughes. The former big city detective became chief deputy of the Dearborn County Sheriff’s Department from 2004 until 2007 under then sheriff Dave Lusby.


“He was a super human being, a gentle giant. We’ll miss him very much,” Lusby said Monday after learning of Vannatter’s death.


The O.J. Simpson murder case was not Vannatter’s only well-known case. In 1977, he also investigated and arrested film director Roman Polanski on charges that he drugged and had sex with a teen girl.


Vannatter’s funeral services are scheduled for Wednesday at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood, California.