In life, family therapist and author Amie Harwick devoted herself to helping others work through their personal struggles. Now, her shocking death is putting a spotlight on domestic violence. Her former fiancé, Drew Carey, is among those calling for updated laws that will ensure the safety of victims, something Harwick was passionate about in her practice.
Erin Moriarty and 48 HOURS go inside the investigation of what happened leading up to Harwick’s death, and talk with those who were closest to her in the final weeks of her life, in “The Life and Death of Amie Harwick” to be broadcast Saturday, Feb. 22 (10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
In the early morning hours on Feb. 15, Los Angeles police officers responding to a call of a “woman screaming” found 38-year-old Harwick lying on the ground, battered and unresponsive beneath the third-floor balcony of her Hollywood home. According to police, inside her apartment there was evidence of a struggle and forced entry. Harwick was transported to a hospital, where she later died from blunt force injuries to the head and torso, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner. The medical examiner also indicated that Harwick had been strangled before falling over the balcony. A trail of evidence soon led homicide investigators to Harwick’s ex-boyfriend, 41-year-old Gareth Pursehouse.
48 HOURS learned that during the course of their relationship in 2011 and 2012, Harwick had filed for temporary restraining orders against Pursehouse, detailing allegations of violence and stalking. The restraining orders had since expired. Four days after her death, the Los Angeles District Attorney charged Pursehouse with one count each of murder and first-degree residential burglary with a special circumstance allegation of lying in wait, which makes it eligible for the death penalty, and carries a minimum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
In emotional, revealing interviews, Moriarty talks with friends of Harwick who open up about her fears of abuse and how her work deeply helped others. Harwick’s best friend, Robert Coshland, tells Moriarty that she texted him just minutes before police say she was attacked.
“We texted, you know. I sent her my last text at probably 11:00 at night. She responded to me at like 1:01,” Coshland says.
Coshland went to sleep having no idea Amie had been assaulted. But when he heard the next day, he immediately told police that he knew who was responsible.
“And they were like, you know, ‘Do you know who might have done this?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, Gareth,'” Coshland says.
Coshland tells Moriarty that Harwick had told him, “If anything ever happens to me, you know it’s him.”
Moriarty also sits down with Harwick’s close personal and professional friend Dr. Hernando Chaves, who describes being with Harwick when she ran into Pursehouse weeks before her death putting her back on his radar.
The broadcast also includes people who knew Pursehouse and have first-hand knowledge of how he felt about Harwick.
Moriarty also talks with stalking and violence expert forensic psychologist Kris Mohandie.
Harwick’s death is the latest to bring calls for changes in what many say are outdated and ineffective laws to protect victims of stalking and domestic abuse.
More than 7.5 million cases of stalking were reported in a single year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 48 HOURS: “The Life and Death of Amie Harwick” explores the extreme, often debilitating toll that stalking takes on victims. Several survivors explain in vivid terms what it feels like to be targeted and how being stalked irrevocably changed their lives. They also talk about how Harwick’s death reigniting calls to change stalking and domestic violence laws, and making sure her death is not in vain.