Well-known sex therapist murdered, former boyfriend arrested

HOLLYWOOD HILLS, LOS ANGELES -- A well-known sex and family therapist was killed at her Hollywood Hills home on Saturday, and her former boyfriend has been arrested on suspicion of murder, police said Sunday.

Dr. Amie Harwick was found on the ground beneath a third-story balcony with injuries consistent with a fall after Los Angeles police officers responded at approximately 1:16 a.m., according to a news release from the LAPD.

Gareth Pursehouse, a 41-year-old resident of Playa Del Rey, was arrested Saturday around 4:30 p.m. Detectives learned Harwick had previously filed a restraining order against him, but it had expired.

Police were initially called to the Hollywood Hills residence to investigate reports of a woman screaming. Officers were met in the street by Harwick's roommate, who said she was being assaulted inside her home. The roommate had jumped a wall and went to neighboring residences to call for help.

After police made entry, Harwick was found suffering grave injuries and unconscious after she had apparently fallen from a third-floor balcony, police said. She was transported to a local hospital, where she died from her injuries.

An investigation revealed possible evidence of a struggle upstairs and forced entry to the residence, police said. Evidence of a suspect entering and leaving the property after the murder was also found. Surveillance video led police to the suspect.

Pursehouse was arrested outside of a residence in Playa Del Rey by members of an FBI-LAPD Fugitive Task Force. Pursehouse is being held on $2 million bail.

Detectives learned that the victim had "recently expressed fear" about her former boyfriend. Police said Harwick had seen Pursehouse two weeks ago.

Harwick was once engaged to actor and comedian Drew Carey. She used social media to talk about her work as a therapist. In a recent Facebook post, she recommended a book called "Stay Sexy and Don't Get Murdered."

The investigation is ongoing and the case will be presented to the District Attorney's Office for filing on Wednesday.

Anyone with information regarding the case can contact LAPD-West Bureau Homicide at (213) 382-9470.
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