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Monday, 7 May, 2001, 08:31 GMT 09:31 UK
Actor pays detective to find wife's killer
Robert Blake
Actor Robert Blake's wife was shot in her car
American actor Robert Blake has hired a private investigator to help find the killer of his wife.

Bonny Bakley, 45, was shot once in the head on Friday night as she waited in the couple's car for her husband to retrieve a gun he had left at a restaurant in Los Angeles.

Mr Blake, best known for his role in the 1970s TV series Baretta, was taken to hospital the day after the shooting, suffering from high blood pressure.

His lawyer Harlan Braun said Mr Blake was taken to an undisclosed hospital on Saturday night but released on Monday.

'Routine tests'

The 67-year-old actor was questioned by police but he is not now considered to be a suspect.

"He's (Blake) already given them five hours of interviews and they have taken routine tests from his clothing and his hands, which all came back negative," said Mr Braun.

Mr Braun said the hired investigator was examining Ms Bakley's background.

"Our investigators are now searching the house after the LAPD finished," Mr Braun said.

"With our assistance, there may be stuff in her property that could provide clues.

Stalking fear

"The police didn't really have a chance to understand her background, so there may be a clue that we can find that they didn't."

The lawyer said Mr Blake's wife had believed someone had been stalking her and had asked her husband to carry a gun.

"The problem is that she had sort of a chequered background," said Mr Braun.

The 45-year-old woman reportedly had been involved in "lonely hearts con schemes" in which she conned men out of money through adverts across the country.

"She claimed that she stopped it," said Mr Braun.

The actor married Bakley last November after DNA tests showed he was the father of Ms Bakley's daughter, Rose.

The child was originally named Christian Shannon Brando because Ms Bakley initially thought the child was the daughter of Marlon Brando's son, Christian.

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