Ronni Chasen, Jill Gatsby

Eric Charbonneau/Getty Images; Courtesy of Jill Gatsby

"She knows what she did." And with that biting line in her will, slain Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen bequeathed just $10 of her multimillion-dollar estate to her niece.

Now, that niece, Jill Gatsby, is talking exclusively to E! News about her relationship with her aunt and the reason behind the slight.

"That's a real family secret regarding Ronni and my career as a writer which I am choosing to keep to myself at this time," says Gatsby, an actress, writer and singer.

Chasen's will is dated June 10, 1994, and states, "I have intentionally and with full knowledge of the consequences omitted to provide for my niece, Jill Cohen, also known as Jill Gatsby, except for the gift of $10."

Gatsby's sister, Melissa Cohen, however, will share three-quarters of the estate with their father, Phone Booth screenwriter Larry Cohen, and Melissa also received $50,000 in a separate trust—a move that Gatsby says she completely understands and accepts.

"My sister taught me forgiveness and love," she says. "She found the way to Ronni's heart that no one else in the family ever could. Perhaps one day the whole truth will be told, but for now it's time to mourn and pray that whoever did this is brought to justice."

Gatsby has even released a YouTube music video dedicated to her late aunt.

"I wrote and performed that song for Ronni's memory, and for my family," says Gatsby. "I never imagined the press would pick up on such an amateurish recording. The song was just something I did while I was sick with the flu and feeling helpless to do anything about my aunt's death. I've been sick with a virus ever since she was killed, which is why I haven't responded to anyone."

And despite their private disagreement becoming very public in the wake of Chasen's Nov. 16 slaying, Gatsby says there are no hard feelings.

"I loved my Aunt Ronni very much," she tells E! "She was my favorite aunt and someone I admired in many ways. Everyone alsways said that we were so much alike that she could have been my mother. My dad always joked that I was her illegitimate daughter that he had raised in secret."

While Larry Cohen, a coexecutor of the estate, had expressed hope that a more recent version of the will would turn up, nothing has surfaced yet. Chasen was believed to have updated her will in September.

Meanwhile, the estate's other coexecutor and Chasen's longtime friend Martha Smilgis

is struggling to find a motive for the murder.

"She was wonderful and I am sad," Smilgis said by phone from her Santa Barbara home. "She had no enemies and I have no theories on why anyone would want to hurt her."

Smilgis also discounted some of the other prevalent theories that have been floated:

  • There was no secret boyfriend: "She had boyfriends in the past but she wasn't dating anyone seriously that I knew of," says Smilgis. "She was hoping to meet someone once work slowed down."
  • There were no bad business deals involving her brother: "She and her brother were close. They visited and talked often," says Smilgis. "But she never invested in his stuff. And she never mentioned any money problems."
  • She had a lot to live for: "We were planning a trip to Aspen," says Smilgis, adding that Chasen was hoping to take a break after the Oscars to try to meet someone.

As for the seemingly stalled investigation, Smilgis says the Beverly Hills police might be overmatched.

"Why don't they call in LAPD?" she asks. "Hopefully they will come up with something soon."

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